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Buffy: Tropes A-G
  • Abandoned Warehouse
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Though Sunnydale's were deliberately built to be demon accessible by the Mayor.
  • Abusive Parents: This is Sunnydale, and good parent-child relationships will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Almost every main character on the show has at least one parent who is abusive or neglectful. Tara's family convinced her she was part-demon and therefore dangerous to be in the outside world. Buffy's father, who does not show up when Buffy's mom dies, forcing Buffy to take care of her underage sister (she also neglects this surrogate parent role); Willow's parents who are too wrapped up in their own affairs to pay attention to her (however, in true Buffy style, this neglect manifests as two seasons of total absence followed by a brief appearance where her mother incites the populace of Sunnydale to burn her daughter alive; Xander's father who is an alcoholic; Spike's mother, who tried to come onto him after being turned into a vampire; and Principal Wood's mother, who prioritized her Slayer duties over him. The latter is witnessed from four-year-old Wood's point of view, which is somewhat biased.
  • Abusive Precursors: The Old Ones.
  • Academy of Adventure: Sunnydale High School. Not for nothing does Buffy eventually blow it up. (It gets better, but of course that doesn't last long.)
  • Accidental Murder: The launching event for both Faith's and Willow's Face-Heel Turn.
  • Action Series
  • Adopt the Dog: Cordelia mounting a Gunship Rescue in the Season One finale. With her BMW.
    • Spike endures hours of torture to protect Dawn, solely to spare Buffy pain.
  • Adoring the Pests: Amy turns herself into a rat to escape burning at the stake, four seasons or something ridiculous like that are spent by (mainly) Willow looking after her and trying to find a cure.
    • Oz was also a werewolf.
  • Adult Fear:
    • "The Body". Buffy comes home to find her mother dead on the couch. Buffy, a girl who fights vampires and demons, is reduced to a near catatonic state clearly wondering how long Joyce had been in the house and if she could have been saved. It gets worse several episodes later when, despite the Scoobies' best efforts, her sister Dawn is still captured.
    • The possibility of Buffy losing guardianship of Dawn is discussed several times, but it comes to a head in the Season 6 episode "Gone" when a social worker comes at absolutely the worst time, everyone says absolutely the wrong things, and ends up with the following:
      MS. KROGER: I think I've seen enough.
      BUFFY: No, actually, I really don't think that you have. It's just ... it's been kind of, kind of a, a bad time.
      MS. KROGER: It's been a bad time now for a while, hasn't it, Ms. Summers? [...]
      BUFFY: But there—there are good reasons.
      MS. KROGER: Oh, I'm sure there are. But my interest is in Dawn's welfare. And the stability of her home life, something I'm just not convinced that an unemployed young woman like yourself can provide.
      BUFFY: I can. I, I do!
      MS. KROGER: Well, we'll just have to see about that then, won't we? Oh, and I'm, uh, going to recommend immediate probation in my report.
      BUFFY: What does that mean?
      MS. KROGER: It means that I'll be monitoring you very closely, Ms. Summers. And if I don't see that things are improving, well, I'll be forced to recommend that you be stripped of your sister's guardianship.
      BUFFY: You can't do that.
      MS. KROGER: I do what is in Dawn's best interest ... as should you. Have a nice day.
  • Adults Are Useless: Xander's parents are drunks, Buffy's father is rarely around, Willow's mother shows up once, getting in her way, and Willow's father is mentioned in reference, with Willow worrying what "Ira Rosenberg will think of his only daughter nailing a crucifix to her wall." The only parent who isn't completely useless is Joyce, and that's because she's too busy being Team Mom.
    • The Watcher's Council plays into this as well, as does Wesley. Averted big-time by Giles, though.
    • Played up in Season 3's "Band Candy," where a certain brand of chocolate makes adults who eat it revert to teenage maturity levels.
  • Aerith and Bob: As is constantly Lampshaded, Buffy plus About Most of the Cast and Whoever's Left.
  • Affably Evil: Mayor Wilkins, who provides the Trope picture. Also, Harmony, Clem, Spike (after his encounter with The Initiative), pretty much all the demons who showed up to Anya and Xander's wedding, Holden Webster from "Conversations With Dead People", and occasional random vamps. And Ethan Rayne.
  • Age Without Youth: At some point, vampires lose the ability to assume human form, and are stuck in their Game Face, which grows increasingly aged and inhuman over time. Exactly what they'll look like (or become) in the end is unknown, but one particularly old vamp named Kakistos eventually developed cloven hooves.
    • Giles does refer to Kakistos as being 'so old his hands and feet are cloven'. Info given in the RPG books gives Kakistos' possible age as around 2000, since it mentions him being able to 'remember when Constantinople was Byzantium'.
      • Vampire appearance is likely more complex than age, however. The Master (Heinrich Ness) was said to be 'over 600', yet his appearance in flashbacks to his siring of Darla in the 1600s is the same as in the 1990s. If he was only slightly over 600 this would make him only around 300-400 when he sired her. Other 'old' vampires such as Darla and Dracula have no sign of deformities or other corruption (Dracula even appears human even when using his fangs in contrast to all other vampires seen onscreen). It is possible that magic, demonic taint (the Master's Order of Aurelius worshipped the Old Ones) or a refusal to live in human civilisation, as well as extreme age, cause the changes in appearance.
    • In Angel vampires are established as being humans in a symbiotic relationship with a blood-borne warrior-demon. Assumably how much like a blood-crazed satyr one looks is related to one's relationship with the inner demon, and age is just one way to get there. Whatever makes the Master the big bad is likely another, and the super-vampires from the last season are probably close to the demon for a third reason.
  • Aliens and Monsters: Sorta. A grand total of one (supremely scary) alien appears in the entire run of the series, and its origin is supernatural anyway.
  • All Abusers Are Male: Under the helm of Marti Noxon, the show tended to drift in this direction.
  • All Myths Are True: Except leprechauns.
  • All Witches Have Cats: Tara suggests she and Willow get a cat. Willow thinks she means a familiar but no, she just wants a pet. And so Miss Kitty Fantastico guest-stars for a few episodes before its unfortunate demise in an off-screen accidental crossbow discharge.
  • All Women Love Shoes: At least Buffy and Cordelia have one thing in common.
  • All Women Are Lustful
  • Alternate Universe: Plenty of em, five mentioned or seen: The Wishverse, The Universe of the Trolls, The Universe of Perpetual Wednesday, The the One with No Shrimp and the One That Is All Shrimp.
    • YMMV on whether or not the Normalverse (from 6x17 "Normal Again") was an alternate universe or a hallucination.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Vampires and (initially) demons. As the show went on, we met demons who were fully naturalized and driving station wagons.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Watcher's Council.
  • Ancient Grome: Justified, seeing as all the various gods seem to exist.
  • And Here He Comes Now: Happens many, many times, usually when one of the characters is having problems.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: One aspiring heir to the Master chatters on that when he kills Buffy, it'll be the greatest event since the Crucifixion. "And I should know. I was there." Behind him, Spike's famous voice cuts in:
    Spike: Oh please! If every vampire who said he was at the Crucifixion was actually there, it would've been like Woodstock.
    • In his first scene, Willy demurs that he's staying away from that whole vampire scene and "living right." ("What's My Line, Pt.1")
      Angel: Sure you are, Willy. And I'm taking up sunbathing.
    • Willow trying to masquerade as her vampire counterpart. Anya smells a rat. "If she's a vampire, then I'm the Creature from the Black Lagoon."
  • Ankle Drag: One of the Hellmouth's tentacles slithers up Willow's ankle. ("Prophecy Girl")
    • Buffy, wracked with guilt over her role in the death of Deputy Mayor Finch, has a nightmare of his corpse dragging her underwater. ("Consequences")
  • Animated Adaptation: Attempted after season five but didn't get going. You can see What Could Have Been here.
  • Anti-Hero: Willow, after Glory does her sanity-sucking thing to Tara. (YMMV on Willow's murder of Warren.)
    • Spike's also an anti-hero, as is Giles by the end of the show.
  • Anyone Can Die: Ms. Calendar, Joyce, Tara, Anya and Spike. After they make the switch to Angel, Cordelia and Wesley, though Spike gets better. You have to expect this.
  • Apocalypse How: Several times, at varying levels. See the trope page for details.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age
  • Arc Villain: Trope Codifier for live action television.
  • Artistic License - Biology: Dawn Summers is a magically-created clone of her sister Buffy. Technically, this means that Dawn is actually Buffy's daughter and not her sister after all. Of course, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Michelle Trachtenberg don't look anywhere near similar enough to be real life siblings, much less mother/daughter.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: In the pilot, Joyce asks if Buffy's going out to a nightclub.
    Joyce: Oh. Will there be boys there?
    Buffy: No, Mom. It's a nun club.
    • In "The Harvest", Harmony asks Cordelia if they're going to the Bronze tonight. "No," Cordy snorts, "we're going to the other cool place in Sunnydale." Harmony seems to struggle with that conundrum.
    • In "When She Was Bad", Xander's announcing that Cibo Matto will be gracing their presence at the Bronze. Willow asks if they're playing.
    Xander: No, Will, they're going to be clog dancing.
    Willow: (amazed) Cibo Matto can clog dance?! (beat) ...oh, sarcasm, right.
    • Buffy disfusing a school shooting in "Earshot":
      Jonathan: You think I just want attention?
      Buffy: No, I think you're up in the clock tower with a high-powered rifle because you wanna blend in.
    • In "The Wish", Cordelia, oblivious to the fact that Xander's a vampire in this reality, tells him that they need to find Buffy pronto.
      Wishverse Xander: (warily) ...Buffy. The Slayer?
      Cordelia: No! Buffy the dog-faced girl!
    • Wishverse Buffy and Angel are present at the factory's unveiling, observing from the back. Angel asks, "What's the plan?" Without looking at him, Buffy holds up a stake and says, "Don't fall on this."
  • The Atoner: They're everywhere. Giles, Faith, Angel, Spike, Willow and Andrew. Amazingly, only one of them has suffered Redemption Equals Death. It was Giles.
  • Ax-Crazy: Drusilla, Faith, Caleb, Warren Mears.
  • Baby-Doll Baby: Crazy Drusilla spends much of her time mothering dolls, particularly "Miss Edith". She even punishes them for perceived bad behavior. (E.g. excluding them from playing with the rest or denying them meals.)
  • Bad-Guy Bar: Willy's.
  • Bad Guys Play Pool: Willy's Bar.
    • The billard table at The Bronze is usually an indicator that someone's up to no good. Xander is angrily playing a game by himself when Faith approaches him with a plan to dust Angel. ("Revelations")
    • Percy, the basketball jock who exploits Willow to pass his tests, is cockily shooting pool when Vampire Willow (from the Wishverse) strolls in. ("Doppelgangland")
    • In "Fool for Love", Spike shoots pool while relating his past to Buffy.
    • The Wishverse Bronze also has a pool table, but a hapless human victim is strapped to it.
  • Baddie Flattery: In her nightmare encounter with the Master, he comments that Buffy is prettier than the last Slayer. He compliments her aim in "Prophecy Girl", after casually catching her crossbow bolt.
    • The Mayor concurs with that assessment. ("Choices") "She's pretty, Angel! A little skinny."
    • Friend-turned-enemy Billy Fordham sadly tells Buffy he's missed her, which is tantamount to admitting that her analysis of him (that he's a scared kid hiding behind delusions of villainy) is spot-on. ("Lie to Me")
  • Basement-Dweller: Xander, The Trio, Spike. ("I'm chained in a bathtub, drinking pig's blood from a novelty mug!")
  • Batman Cold Open: Occasionally doubles as a Couch Gag; for instance, "Halloween" starts with Buffy fighting a vampire in a pumpkin patch.
  • Batter Up: A popular weapon amongst the Scoobies. Anya doesn't know how to hold one properly.
    • The demon in "Nightmares" is a lumbering figure with a club for a hand. The club is representative of a baseball bat, and the monster itself is a manifestation of an abusive baseball coach.
    • As punishment for murdering Ms. Calendar, Giles pays a visit to Angelus and greets him with a kerosene-soaked flaming bat to the head.
      Angelus: Jeez, whatever happened to wooden stakes?
    • For attempting to strangle Xander in her bed, Faith is treated to a baseball bat to the teeth (courtesy of Johnny-on-the-spot Angel)
  • Battle Couple: Each of Buffy's boyfriends (Angel, Riley, Spike) are combat-ready.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: It is the case of some vampires who either unleashed repressed parts of their personalities or went mad: Drusilla, Spike, Jesse and Alternate!Willow.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Happens frequently, as you might expect from living on a Hellmouth. Here are just a few examples.
    • Xander stepping up to the plate and taking his best shot with Buffy. "I want to dance with you". He gets his wish in the very next episode, when a shell-shocked Buffy bumps and grinds against him to enrage Willow and Angel.
    • The M.O. of vengeance demons.
    • Quoted by Halloween costume fashionista Ethan Rayne. "Don't wish to blow my own trumpet, but it's genius. The very embodiment of 'be careful what you wish for'."
    • Buffy has a love-hate relationship with her job. She complains about being a Slayer, but is reluctant to give up her duties when Kendra and Faith threaten to edge her out of the gang.
    • "Helpless" depicts what would happen if Buffy were truly a normal girl stuck in a house with vampires.
    • Conversely, "The Wish" shows what would happen if Buffy never came to Sunnydale at all.
    • A scorned Xander performing a love spell on Cordelia. Needless to say, it backfires.
      Giles: I cannot believe that you are fool enough to do something like this!
      Xander: Oh, no, I'm twice the fool it takes to do something like this.
    • Ken's Hannibal Lecture in "Anne". He ridiculing her for running away from Sunnydale and her old identity — trying to disappear. "Congratulations. You got your wish."
    • The Trio in Season 6 wanted to be taken seriously as super villains. Willow completely flayed Warren, leading Jonathan and Andrew to flee the country to escape her wrath.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Faith and Gwendolyn Post, Faith and the Mayor, and Faith and Angel. (Faith loves this trope.)
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Caligula and Jack the Ripper were the same vampire, and Anya was partially responsible for the Russian Revolution.
    • Billy Idol stole his look from Spike.
    • Martha Stewart is a witch.
  • Best of All Possible Worlds: The Alternate Universe where Willow and Xander were vampires and its Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies at the end would qualify.
    • Though given the point of the episode wasn't so much that the world they had was good as that Buffy had done a lot less harm than good over the course of the series, the bar is set low enough to be highly reasonable.
    • Anyanka invokes this — or possibly its inverse — in the climax, by saying she doesn't even know what the original universe was like; Giles responds, "It has to be better than this." Smash.
  • Big Bad: The show started the term.
    • Lothos in the movie.
    • The Master in the first season.
    • Season two introduces Spike and Drusilla, but they are joined in the role by Angelus, Angel's demonic alter ego.
    • Season three has Richard Wilkins, the mayor of Sunnydale.
    • Season four puts the Scoobies against the Initative, but the role goes to Adam, a monster that was created by the Intiative.
    • Season five has Glorificus.
    • Season six puts up with a trio of nerds. Although, in this case, the trope is subverted. After the trio's leader Warren Meers kills his own girlfriend, he makes it his objective to murder Buffy and in his attempt to do so, shoots Willow's lover Tara. This then leads to Willow's Face-Heel Turn as she assumes the role as the season's ultimate Big Bad. However, Word of God says the true Big Bad was "life itself".
    • Season seven has The First Evil, who counts as the Bigger Bad because it is the embodiment of evil itself.
    • The season eight comic book continuation presents a masked mysterious rebel leader known as Twilight (Interestingly not a Take That) who turns out to be Angel who was manipulated by the true Big Bad, the true Twilight entity, which embodies a universe planning to be "born".
  • Big Guy Rodeo: Xander does this in 'Reptile Boy', jumping onto one of the frat guys. Punctuated Pounding ensues.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Spells are almost always done in another language, often a dead one like Latin.
  • Birthday Episode: There is one of these every season for the title character's birthday. They even lampshade the fact that some horrible monster always strikes on Buffy's birthday in later seasons.
  • Bit Character: Deputy Mayor Finch's death marks the third murder investigation involving Buffy in less than two years: she is previously suspected in the deaths of fellow Slayer Kendra and her would-be stepfather, Ted. Each investigation is headed by the same Detective (played by James MacDonald).
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Buffy and Xander, on different occasions. Buffy gets a dose at the start of Season 2, 'When She Was Bad', systematically hurting Angel, Willow and Xander at the same time. She revisits it at the start of Season 3 when she runs away, then again in Season 7, to the point that's she's thrown out of her own house. Xander has a tendency to evoke this trope with nasty comments whenever he's in an argument, such as when Buffy's caught considering running away again in Season 3, and throwing Buffy's near-rape in Dawn's face as a way to shut Dawn up, after Buffy specifically didn't want to disclose it.
  • Bit Part Bad Guys: Vampires starting around Season 3 or so.
    • Team Rocket Wins: Run of the mill, common vampires, under no leadership but their own — have bested Buffy on a couple of occasions and are among the most common sources of Slayer overall deaths in the series.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Very common. Seasons 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8 all have them. Episodes also have them often, including the musical episode.
    Everyone: "The battle's done and we kinda won, so we sound our victory cheer, but where do we go from here?"
    • Arguably season 3 ends with this as well: Buffy defeats the mayor, Angel leaves, Giles has no means of supporting himself—as he has been sacked from the council and Sunnydale High (along with its library) have been blown up—and a lot of students and parents die before the mayor is stopped. Taking all this into consideration, season 4 is easily considered the only season without a bittersweet ending.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Tends to accompany spellcasting.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Buffy is blonde, Willow's a redhead, but it's a toss up between Cordelia, Anya, and Dawn when it comes to the brunette.
  • Blood Magic: In the Master's first attempt at an early parole, his Dragon Luke volunteers to become the Master's "Vessel", supplying him with power by feeding on human blood.
    • It's Buffy's blood which ultimately allows the Master to break free. ("Prophecy Girl")
    • In the Season Two premiere, the Master's acolytes attempt a ritual to bring him back to life. This involves slitting the necks of his adversaries (ie the Scoobies) and wetting his skeleton with their blood.
    • Angelus' blood is the key to de-petrifying the demon Acathla and opening a portal that would suck the world into hell. Unluckily for him, it's a two-way street; Buffy runs Angelus through with a sword whilst standing in front of Acathla, sending Angelus to hell and sealing the portal shut.
    • Likewise, the blood of "The Key" is necessary to open and close the wall separating Glory's universe from ours. Her zealots succeed in using Dawn as the Key by spilling her blood; however, Buffy takes advantage of a loophole by using her own blood (which is identical to Dawn's) to close the vortex.
    • In Season Seven, the Seal of Danzalthar opens only when a large quantity of blood is spilled on it.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Lots of death, lots of vampires sucking blood out of people, a few plain old slit throats, very little red. Helped by vampires bursting into a cloud of dust when staked, probably for the purpose of reducing complaints about violence on the show.
  • Bond One-Liner: Subverted more than once.
    • "That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo!"
    • "Hey Ken, wanna see my impression of Gandhi?" (SPLAT)
      Lily: Gandhi?
      Buffy: (beat) Well, you know, if he was really pissed off.
  • Book Ends: At the end of the pilot, Giles signs off with, "The world is doomed." He amends this in the series finale. ("Definitely doomed.")
    • The finale's conversation happens in more or less the same place and in much the same manner as the pilot's, with Giles trying to talk about the upcoming end of the world and Buffy, Xander, and Willow ignoring him and wandering off. (This is Lampshaded by Giles who remarks that he is once again, "invisible to the naked eye.")
    • Season 2 began with Buffy arriving from LA and ended with Buffy leaving for LA.
    • At the start of Season 2, Joyce says she hopes Buffy can make it through the school year without getting kicked out. At the end of the season Buffy does get kicked out.
    • In the "Graduation Day" two-parter, the teacher prodding his students to play "Hangman" is the same guy from the season premiere urging everyone to "be somber" now they've returned to school.
    • In "Lie to Me", Ford arranging a "surprise" date with Buffy is eerily reminiscent of the scene between Angel and Drusilla at the beginning of the episode, and conveys the same sense of battle lines being drawn.
    • In the same episode, Buffy says she's done with being lied to by her friends, but Angel tells her that some lies are necessary — which is a nice setup for the Title Drop at the end of the episode.
    • When Buffy reawakens in the hospital in the Season Three finale, she approaches Faith's bed and returns the forehead kiss that Faith had given her in "Enemies."
    • Principal Snyder is killed by being eaten. Ironically, this is after Snyder made such a big deal back in his first appearance ("The Puppet Show") about how former Principal Flutie got devoured by hyenas because he was too soft on kids.
    • Willow suggested to Buffy in "The Harvest" that one way she could get out of school would be to "blow something up." Guess how Season 3 ends.
    • Buffy began and ended Season 6 at the cemetery. (Though it should be noted that every season, except the first, begins in a cemetery).
      • The real Book End of Season 6 is the fact that both the premiere and the finale feature Buffy climbing out of the ground and showing the stark differences in the circumstances. In the premiere she's clawing her way out of a coffin, terrified and desperate and she emerges to darkness and what she thinks is Hell. In the finale she climbs out of the Sunnydale ruins with her sister and emerges into the sun, looking hopeful and peaceful.
    • Season 7 premiere. "It's about power"
  • Bottomless Magazines: In "Nalloween" Soldier Xander just blasts away with an M16A2 that he never seems to have to reload Justified in that it's from Ethan Rayne's shop and is probably magical anyhow.
  • Brainless Beauty: Harmony and Glory. Cordelia seemed to be one, but had Hidden Depths.
  • Brass Balls: Buffy's mother Joyce is being held prisoner by evil Slayer Faith.
    Faith: You're thinking "You'll never get away with this!"
    Joyce: Actually I was thinking "My daughter is going to kill you soon."
    Faith: That a fact?
    Joyce: More like a bet.
    Faith: Whoa. You got a pair on you, Joyce.
  • Break the Cutie: Willow, Dawn, Buffy herself, Anya from "Hell's Bells" on, arguably Riley and even Faith. Blame Joss Whedon.
  • Breaking and Bloodsucking:
    • Angelus broke into Buffy's room to draw her sleeping as a Break-In Threat.
    • In "Buffy vs Dracula," Dracula wisps into Buffy's bedroom as a cloud of mist and then uses his hypnotic charm to get Buffy to let him bite her. She even assists him by moving her hair off of her neck when Dracula asks her to.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall / Leaning on the Fourth Wall
  • Break Up Make Up Scenario: in season 6 between Tara and Willow.
  • Brick Joke: "Passions" has a throwaway line about the Orb of Thesulah being sold to dumb New Agers as paperweights. In the Season Finale, Giles mentions he has been using one as a paperweight.
    • Buffy remarks that she could use a snack after killing The Master. In her debut episode, Faith, another Slayer, says that slaying always makes her "hungry and horny."
    • The origin of Chanterelle's name.
    • Xander looks forward to leaving school so he can finally tell Snyder what he thinks of him ("What's My Line, Pt. 1"). This never happens, but in "Restless" Xander does have a cathartic exchange in his Dream Sequence. ("You know, I never got the chance to tell you how glad I was you were eaten by a snake.")
    • "You HAD SEX WITH GILES?!"
    • In "Lover's Walk", Spike wails that Dru left him for a Chaos Demon. ("All slime and antlers!") The spat between Spike, Dru and Antler Guy is shown in "Fool for Love".
    • In "Choices", Xander is reading Jack Kerouac, inspiring to him to go on a road trip after graduation. However, as Buffy learns in Season Four, he only makes it as far as Oxnard when his car breaks down.
    • In Season 5, Spike tries to hide his Stalker with a Crush obsession with Buffy with a Lame Comeback; "I never liked you anyway, and you have stupid hair." In Season 6, after finally making out with Buffy, Spike gushes over how good her long hair looks (Buffy responds by getting a bobcut).
    • The story behind Once More, With Feeling's "The Mustard" from Season 6, is given a little exposition in Season 7, with "Mustard on my Shirt" ("Selfless").
  • Broad Strokes: Between this series and the original movie.
  • Buffy Speak: Trope Namer.
  • Bury Your Gays: Surprisingly enough, this trope is played straight more often than not.
    • We have Larry, the only confirmed gay man ever on the show, who was killed in the battle against The Mayor in "Graduation Day"
    • And Tara, Willow's long time girlfriend, was shot and killed by Warren Mears.
    • And then there's Kennedy, Willow's second girlfriend, who was killed between the end of Season 7, and the beginning of Season 8. She was subsequently revived by Willow.
  • But Not Too Gay: Willow and Tara were a couple for about twenty-five episodes before they so much as kissed on-screen, probably partly for this and partly to avoid claims of sensationalism.
    • The WB only allowed the relationship on the grounds they weren't seen to kiss and Joss Whedon had to fight to keep the first kiss in. They weren't seen to kiss again until after the show had moved to UPN.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Glory, The Trio, Caleb, vampires in general.
  • Casual Danger Dialog
  • Character Development: Plenty for all, but it's worth noting that ones who get the most of it are the ones who end up on Angel: Cordelia, Wesley, and Spike, all of whom end their time in the Buffyverse very different from when they first appeared.
  • Character Magnetic Team
  • Character Overlap: See "Character Development."
  • Characterization Marches On: Wow. In the first episode of Buffy, Buffy herself was a perky cheerleader, Darla was somewhat ditzy, and Angel was aloof, mysterious, and kind of chipper. Fast forward to the episode Angel, and they've developed more into the personalities that they're known for.
    • With Darla, it's somewhat hard to tell, considering that she gets dusted so soon, but she does come back on Angel, and it's a lot more apparent.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Willow's magic in Season 3, Xander's construction job in Season 5. Giles' skill with black magic in Season 8.
  • Chop Sockey
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Happens a few times. In the episode "Spiral" Spike tries it. Problem is, his hands are screwed up from the fight they were just in, so Xander ends up lighting it for him. Reversed in the episode, Get It Done. Spike, who has been various flavors of The Woobie throughout the first half of the season, and who has just gotten curb stomped by a demon that he needs to kill to help Buffy, goes back to an old hideout of his to retrieve his duster, before going out to fight the demon again. After he dispatches the demon, he lights up a smoke to show that He's Back to his old Bad Ass self.
    • When Faith returns to help save the world with people who hate her she sneaks down into the basement when she gets sick of the potentials to smoke. In the comics she returns to being very cynical and uses smoking to cope, and when tricked to kill a slayer who is targeting Buffy she needs a lot of cigarettes to cope, then seemingly quits after getting with Giles then Angel.
  • City of Weirdos: Sunnydale.
  • Clock Tower: Sunnydale High's steeple, showcased in "Earshot."
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: Buffy vs. Angel in his eponymous episode.
    • Buffy and the Master in "Prophecy Girl."
    • Spike hollering at the drop ceiling panels in "School Hard."
    • In "Ted", Buffy goes hunting for something to take out her frustrations on, but she's too depressed to make an effort; we see her sitting on a playground swing saying "Vampires? Heeeere vampires..."
  • Conflict Killer: Spike then Angelus in Season 2, Adam in Season 4, and Willow in Season 6.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Frequently applies to vampires, and more egregiously to the Turok-Han.
  • Continuity Lock-Out: Happens at least three times in-universe. First Joyce has to learn what it means that her daughter's a slayer, then Riley does the same and later learns about Faith, then in season seven, Principal Wood is out in the cold apropos all the things that have happened to Spike. The first time it's a Tear Jerker, the second just a Lampshade Hanging, the last one a Crowning Moment of Funny.
  • Cool Car: Played straight with Cordelia's (Chrysler Cirrus) convertible (QUEEN C), Xander's (uncle's) 57 Chevy Bel Air, Spike's DeSoto Fireflite and Giles' BMW convertible. Subverted with Giles' earlier CitroŽn, but still cool enough to have fanpages devoted to it.
    • Mainly because if it were restored it would actually be pretty cool.
  • Coolest Club Ever: The Bronze, literally the only club in town.
  • Cosmic Plaything: The series makes it clear the universe has it in for most of the characters in general, and Buffy in particular. No two ways about it.
  • Creator Cameo: "Parking Ticket Lady" (Marti Noxon) and "Mustard Guy" (David Fury) in the musical episode, "Once More With Feeling."
    • In "Lie to Me", the fake vampire lying in a coffin who greets Willow enters a club ("Hi" Vampire in the credits) is played by Todd McIntosh, the show's makeup supervisor.
  • Credits Gag: "Grr. Argh."
  • Cryptic Background Reference
  • Curse That Cures: In the episode "Lie to Me", a childhood friend of Buffy's sells her out to some vampires in exchange for being turned into a vampire to cure his fatal brain tumor. Buffy was quick to point out that the vampires in her 'verse don't have the Soul of the human the body belonged to; his body would move around, and a demon might have his memories, but "he" would still die.
  • Cutesy Name Town: Welcome to "Sunnydale," the most evil and horrible place on the planet, next to Cleveland.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Willow's excited to hear that since Angel came to our fair shores about eighty years ago, there are no reports of him hunting ("Angel"). She reads this as proof that he is a good vampire. "I mean, on a scale of one to ten, 10 being someone who's killing and maiming every night, and 1 being someone who's... not."
    • In "Prophecy Girl", Xander takes the plunge and asks out Buffy. She's at a loss for words."Well, you're not laughing, so that's a good start."
    • In "School Hard", Joyce wonders what Buffy's teachers will have to say about her scholastic performance. "Well," Buffy declares, "I think they'll all agree that I always bring a pen to class, ready to absorb the knowledge."
    • Willow congratulates Buffy from moving on from Angel ...then makes the mistake asking the Scoobies if they approve of the new guy, Scott. "He didn't try to slit our throats or anything," quips Cordelia. "It's progress." ("Faith, Hope, and Trick")
    • Buffy concedes that she's not popular. But she's not exactly unpopular! ("Homecoming")
      Buffy: A lot of people came to my Welcome Home party.
      Willow: But they were eaten by zombies.
    • In "Earshot", Hogan feigns excitement at Percy's improved verbal skills. "I actually heard him complete a sentence," he tells Willow. "It had a clause and everything."
    • At a pep rally in the same episode, Oz muses that the cheerleaders' spelling has improved.
    • In "Graduation Day pt. 2", Snyder congratulates the Class of '99, saying that they were "more or less adequate."
  • Dangerous Workplace: The Magic Box's storekeeper keeps getting killed over the seasons. In "Real Me", Giles decides to buy the shop and run it with the Scooby Gang there to hangout and protect him.
    • On an eerie note, none of the magic store's owners have lived. This includes Anya (killed by a Bringer) and Giles (killed in Season Eight).
  • The Danza: Larry Bagby III as Larry Blaisdell.
  • Dark Is Evil: Vampires, Bringers and a few other things.
  • Dawson Casting: Some actors were a full decade older than their characters.
    • Averted by Dawn and Faith, who are both the same age as the actresses playing them (Eliza Dushku was even legally emancipated from her parents so she wouldn't be limited by child labor laws).
  • Daywalking Vampire: The Gem of Amarra protects its user from vampire weaknesses, including sunlight.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Oz, Spike, Buffy, Xander.
    • Giles also has his moments.
  • Death of Personality: Vampires in the Buffyverse are humans who have died and had their soul replaced by a demon. This means that the person themselves is dead, even though the demon in question has all their memories and often believes they are the original.
  • Decoy Damsel: In the Pilot, Xander's best friend Jesse is nabbed by the Master's goons. By the time they free him in the sewers, he's already been vamped.
    • The Annointed One tries this on Buffy in "Prophecy Girl", standing on the school lawn and wahing for help. Buffy sees right through him.
    • A whimpering brunette vampire who impersonates Cordelia in "When She Was bad."
    • Inverted with Faith's introductory scene, when the Scoobies rush in to 'rescue' her from a disco vampire.
  • Defiant to the End: In Angelus's torture chamber, Giles is barely conscious and bound to his chair. Angelus circles him like a buzzard, telling him he can make the pain stop. Giles finally cracks; he'll tell Angelus what he wants to know. He speaks in a hoarse whisper so Angelus has to put his face very near Giles's and listen very carefully:
    Giles: In order...to be worthy... you must perform the ritual... in a tutu!
    • As Faith holds Willow at knife point, Willow tries to reason with her. Faith senses another speech coming on, and invites Willow to tell her it's all right, there's still good in Faith, it's not too late to change, et cetera. Willow furrows her brows and says it's way too late.
    "You know, it didn't have to be this way. But you made your choice. I know you had a tough life; I know that some people think you had a lot of bad breaks. Well, boo hoo! Poor you. You know, you had a lot more in your life than some people. I mean, you had friends like Buffy. Now you have no one. You were a Slayer, and now you're nothing."
  • Determinator: Buffy qualifies as this, given everything she overcame throughout the show.
  • Devil's Advocate: The Devil's Advocate ball gets passed around the cast of characters, but tends to land in Xander's lap as often as not. The opposing viewpoint is commonly prefaced with "Not to be the bad guy here, but..." or some form of "I don't want to be that guy, but..."
  • Disc One Final Boss: Spike, Mr. Trick, The Initiative, Dracula, The Trio — this happens a lot. The only season that doesn't use this is season 7 (though even then Caleb does come across as this when he's not being the Dragon)
    • Happens twice in season 2 alone, first the anointed one who takes charge after the Master's defeat, who himself is killed by Spike a few episodes in. Spike takes stage to become the main atagonist but it himself upstaged by Angelus.
    • Arguably Adam from Season 4 (who is the only big bad who is killed in an episode other than the finale) acts as a disc one final boss the the first slayer who believes Buffy's has too many shortcomings to do her job properly
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Often, but never more so than Sid the dummy.
    • The first time Xander sees Buffy (while skateboarding), he careens into a guardrail.
    • In "Prophecy Girl", Willow sits enraptured while Xander tries his pick-up lines on her. When he asks for Buffy, Willow points out she's gone, and pathetically offers to let him practice on her some more.
    • Xander losing his train of thought as Willow's leg creeps up his shin. ("Band Candy")
    Xander: The band. Yeah. They're great. They march.
    Willow: Like an army. ...Except with music instead of bullets, and...usually no one dies.
    • Wesley's introduction to comely Cordelia ("Consequences"). "In fact, I am... here to watch... girls."
  • Distressed Damsel: Cordelia in seasons one and two, Willow fairly often, and, in a frequent subversion, Xander. Also, Dawn in seasons five and six and the potentials in season seven. Actually, most every character was a Distressed Damsel sooner or later. Even Buffy once or twice, like the time when she was an 18th century aristocrat.
    Buffy: Dawn's in trouble. Must be Tuesday.
    • Subverted by the show itself, however, as Buffy appears to be the stereotypical petite, blonde girl who is constantly in need of rescue, which she almost never is and on the rare times that she is captured, she almost always gets herself out of trouble.
      • Also the Season Three episode "Choices" plays with this trope as Willow gets captured by The Mayor and does eventually need rescuing but only because her attempts to liberate herself fell through when she got distracted gathering intelligence about The Mayor's plan which was arguably good trade off since she knew Buffy would get her out anyway.
  • Distressed Dude: Pretty much all the guys on this show at one point or another. It's been lampshaded that Xander frequently gets involved with demonic women who try and kill him, Angel gets tied up and tortured a few times, Spike spend a good deal of season 7 in custody of the First Evil tied up and bled as a sacrifice. Even the stoic Oz ends up captured by the US military at one point.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: LOTS AND LOTS.
    • Magic = Drugs and sex, lesbian sex in particular, hence some Unfortunate Implications. Lampshaded in "Same Time, Same Place" when Anya initially is reluctant to do a spell with Willow because "it might get sexy", and it did.
    • Vampire attacks = sex
      • And when Spike has his chip, inability to commit vampire attack = impotence
    • Dawn believing she's a Potential = pregnancy
    • Buffy revealing she's as a slayer to her mother = coming out of the closet. The initial incident aside, Joyce later refers to a figurative "Slayer Pride Parade"...
    • Witchcraft = also homosexuality
    • Dawn finding out she's The Key = adoption
    • Riley letting vampires feed on him = prostitution
      • Or drugs, considering the dingy houses they're in, the rush, that he was bit on the forearm...
    • Towards the end, D'Hoffryn was portrayed less as Anya's boss and more as her pimp.
    • A big one is Buffy releasing Angelus when they make love = your boyfriend will turn into a jerk/monster after you sleep with him.
    • How about Caleb, the Dragon-come-lately of Season 7? A tall, charming man decked out in priestly duds, who turns out to be a sadistic, misogynistic, Ax-Crazy Old Testament-spouting Serial Killer? Seriously, all he was missing was the Love/Hate Knuckle Tattoos.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Xander, when he sees the fear demon. It's not Tempting Fate, it's just tacky.
    • And in "Something Blue", Buffy taunts Spike:
      Buffy: Oh, look at my poor neck. All bare and tender and exposed. All that blood just pumping away.
      Spike: Giles, make her stop.
  • Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That: Buffy tends to do this; for example, it's how she first meets Oz.
  • Doppelgšnger: The three core scoobies have had at least one each: the Buffybot, Vamp Willow, and, arguably, the time Xander's personality was split into two physical bodies.
    Xander: Hey, wait 'til you have an evil twin. See how you handle it. (leaves)
    Willow: (muttering) I handled it fine!
  • Double Entendre: Used plenty of times.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Slayers occasionally have prophetic dreams.
    • One dream at the end of Season 3 prophesies Dawn, who shows up in Season 5. It even gives the number of days until Buffy's death at the end of Season 5... at the end of Season 3.
  • Dresses the Same: In the episode "Angel", Cordelia spots a girl wearing a dress identical to her own, and accuses her of wearing a cheap knockoff of her designer original. The girl scurries off with Cordelia in hot pursuit, haranguing her. "This is exactly what happens when you sign these free trade agreements!"
    • At the Sunset Club, Angel rails on about how these kids don't know anything about vampires. "What they are, how they live, how they dress..." At that moment, a dude dressed in exactly the same outfit as Angel appears next to him, checks him out, and walks away. "...ahem."
  • The Dragon:
    • The Master has Co-Dragons in Luke and Darla. The Annointed One becomes a Dragon Ascendant following the Master's death. The vampire preacher Absalom could be considered the A.O.'s Dragon.
    • Spike is Demoted to Dragon after making the mistake of letting Angelus crash at his place.
    • Mr. Trick begrudgingly serves as a Dragon-in-Chief to Kakistos before getting fed up and leaving him to the Slayers. He later finds himself employed by Mayor Wilkins, but meets his end during a scuffle with Faith, who goes on to take his job.
  • Drugs Are Bad:
    • Steroids will turn you into fish monsters.
    • The villain's Psycho Serum in "Beauty and the Beasts" was another analogue.
    • Magic=drugs, complete with dealers.
    • Riley's blood-addiction thing (which is also played with in Angel, to an even further degree)
  • Dynamic Entry: In "The Harvest", Luke is about to chow down on Cordelia when Buffy kicks one of his mooks over a railing and onto the stage below. Luke watches him land with a thud.
    • In the episode "Angel", Things aren't going so well between Buffy and her fan club. As the leader of the Three is going for the kill, Angel suddenly yanks his hair from behind and punches him in the face.
      Angel: Good dogs don't... [socks vampire] bite!
    • In the Season Two premere, Xander grapples with a vampire in a losing effort until a hand yanks the vamp away. We then see the vamp get pummeled by someone in a shiny micro-mini.
      Buffy: Miss me?
    • While Angelus is busy with her Watcher, Buffy swoops out of nowhere and judo kicks him in the back. ("Passion")
      Angelus: (to Giles) All right, you've had your fun, but you know what it's time for now?
      Buffy: My fun.
    • Perhaps the most famous example in the Season 2 finale. A Sunnydale cop, so nonexistent in previous weeks and so very prevalent in this one, jumps out and tells Buffy to hold it right there. Suddenly, the gun gets kicked out his hands. Spike pops out of nowhere, slaps around the cop and kicks him into the hood of his car, knocking him out.
    • In the same episode, Angelus readies himself to free Acathla as his acolytes look on. Buffy enters quietly behind one of the henchvamps and cleanly decapitates him. O hai!
    • In "Consequences", Faith is straddling Xander in her bed and about to strangle him. She hears a sound and looks over to see Angel swinging a baseball bat before the screen goes black. Ow.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Virtually any time anyone takes off an article of clothing—the female Scoobies are pleasantly surprised by Xander's Speedo.
  • Elemental Plane: There's a universe of shrimp mentioned as a gag.
  • Emergency Impersonation: Willow impersonates the captured alternate universe Willow to get her mooks to go outside.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: "I suddenly find myself needing to know the plural of apocalypse".
  • The End... Or Is It?: used a LOT.
    • At the end of Teacher's Pet, slow pan to Mantis eggs hatching under a shelf
  • Enemy Mine: Spike frequently found himself calling on Buffy for help, even as far back as Season Two.
    • In "Prophecy Girl", Xander enlists his hated enemy's (Angel) help to storm the Master's lair, and save Buffy. Angel scoffs at that, so Xander shoves a cross in his face for extra convincing.
    • A very brief one occurs in Season 3's "Choices," when the Mayor and Faith, in the interest of mutual survival, team up with the Scooby Gang in the high school cafeteria when demon spiders escape from the Box of Gavrok.
  • Enter Stage Window: Buffy typically uses her bedroom window to enter and leave the house after curfew, before her mother finds out she is The Slayer.
    • At one point, she climbs in through the window, despite knowing that her mother is out of town for the weekend. When asked why she didn't just use the door, she is at a loss.
  • Erotic Dream: Has had its fair share. One season 3 episode had Angel and Buffy share such a dream.
  • Establishing Series Moment: In another series, the schoolgirl in the first episode would have been a Dead Blonde Walking. Here, she's a vampire.
  • Estranged Soap Family: Hank Summers, who was gradually retconned into being a deadbeat dad. He made one reappearance in later seasons, but as part of the Cuckoo Nest.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Spike explains that while vampires may love to talk about destroying the world amongst themselves ("It's just tough-guy talk."), he prefers the world as it is. Where he draws the line, however, is sucking the world into Hell.
    "The truth is I like this world. You've got... [beat] dog racing. Manchester United. And you've got people. Billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs. It's all right here. But then someone comes along with a vision. With a real passion for destruction. Angel could pull it off. Goodbye, Piccadilly. Farewell, Leicester Bloody Square, y'know what I'm saying?"
    • Mayor Wilkins says that he married his wife in '03 and that he was with her to the end, which was "not a pretty picture." He suggests that the immortal Angel and the mortal Buffy will have the same problem. Wilkins gets in Angel's face, saying that he's selfish for keeping Buffy from the life she should have. "Is that what you came back from hell for? Is that your greater purpose?" Receiving a blank stare for an answer, Wilkins disgustedly turns his back on him.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex : Played straight despite the fact that in the seven-year series, Buffy only has four sexual partners (Angel, Parker, Riley and Spike) and she sleeps with Satsu in Buffy Season 8, Willow has three (Oz, Tara and Kennedy) and Xander has two (Faith and Anya, not counting demonic seductions with intentions on his life). With the exception of Parker and Faith, two one-night-stands who promptly abandoned the cast regulars after the event, all these relationships evolved into sexual contact after prolonged friendship and/or dating. However, once sexual contact begins, well, this trope gets played very straight, becoming a plot point and basis for an entire episode.
  • Everyone Is Bisexual:
  • Evil Counterpart: Giles in particular racked up a high count, if only because anyone with a vaguely mentor-like personality or British accent will qualify. Giles had an evil counterpart on Angel, too, despite never even appearing on that show!
    • Faith to Buffy but later subverted when Faith is reformed in prison.
    • Oz has an evil counterpart in Veruca.
    • Willow's archenemy (still at large by the time of Season Eight) is Amy Madison.
    • Riley = Forrest
    • Dawn = Glory
    • Anya = Halfrek
  • Evil Gloating: A few of the villains do this. Ethan Rayne acknowledges that it's generally a bad idea, but he can't seem to help himself.
  • Evil Me Scares Me: Something of a recurring theme in the show. Willow is freaked out by the vampire Willow, (although that's at least partially because vamp Willow seems to want to sleep with regular Willow and is "skanky") and is much more fragile in the aftermath of going Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, when Faith and Buffy are having that Freaky Friday experience in Who Are You there's a great scene of Faith, in Buffy's body, beating the crap out of her own body while screaming about how bad and disgusting Faith is, Angel has a permanent version going on with Angelus, Giles would rather not even think about his past as Ripper, etc.
    Faith-in-Buffy's-body: Shut up! Do you think I'm afraid of you? (starts punching Buffy, beating her own face) You're nothing! Disgusting! Murderous bitch! You're nothing! You're disgusting!
  • Evil Only Has to Win Once: The stakes to losing to any of the Big Bad's.
    • Spike makes a speech about how this is the Slayer's lot in life: she will kill however many vampires and demons in her life, but eventually someone will have "One. Good. Day."
  • Evil Plan:
    • Lothos had a fixation on the slayer
    • The Master wanted to escape his can and feast on humans
    • The Trio had number of plans such as make Buffy their Sex Slave.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Ethan, The Mayor and, in his past, Giles. It's been hinted that Giles was much, much worse than Ethan.
  • Expy: Der Kindestod, of Freddy.
    • Ted, and The Stepfather.
    • For another example, look at Gnarl from "Same Time, Same Place" and tell us he doesn't remind you of Gollum. They even have the same habit of referring to themselves in the third person.
    • The episode with the "Fish People" there is no way you can look at them and not think of The Creature From The Black Lagoon
  • Exposition of Immortality: It's a TV show with vampires and demons and werewolves, oh my! There was going to have to be some of this going on at some point. Being television means a lot of it comes through flashbacks; mainly provided for Angel as Angellus, Angel being cursed by the gypsies, Angellus being evil with Spike and Dru etc.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: When Buffy's hair is all curly she is normally not herself or crazy. This goes all the way back to Xander's daydream in the fourth episode of the series.
  • Eye Color Change:
    • Whenever Willow makes intensive use of magic, her eyes abruptly turned pitch-black while closed. Then, in the series finale, when using the scythe to activate all the potential slayers, her eyes (and hair) turned white, hinting she was using powerful white magic.
    • When Willow buffed up Buffy with magic to fight Adam, Buffy's eyes turned gold/yellow.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: The Trio do this a few times.
    • And Willow in "Doppelgangland", when she meekly explains that she's storming off now. "It doesn't really work if you come with me."
    • When the earthquake stops, and the Master, in mid-rant, asides, "Whaddaya think? 5.1?"
    • "Prophecy Girl:" When he wakes up, tell him...I dunno. Think of something cool. Tell him I said it.
    • Oz insists on a moment of silence after the school blows up. Everyone gets annoyed and leaves. "..And we're done."
    • Ethan Rayne in "A New Man" tried to do an "I'm back to raise Hell" monologue when he thought he was alone but Giles heard him.
    • Spike falls into an open grave in "Out Of My Mind"
    • Spike's return to Sunnydale in Season 4:
    "Watch your mouth, little girl. You should know better than to tempt the fates that way. Because the Big Bad is back - and this time, it's ó GNYAARGGHHLL!!" *tased from behind*
  • Fake Band: In season two Dingos Ate My Baby; the name came from the famous case of Lindsey Chamberlain, became a regular at The Bronze. Their lead guitarist Oz becomes attracted to Willow and the two hook up until Seth Green leaves the series in season four.
  • Fallen Princess: Buffy, later Cordelia and Anya.
  • Fang Thpeak: Common throughout the show. It gets better as the show goes on, thanks to better prosthetics. It also tends to be better for repeat characters, because they tend to get specially made prosthetics fitted to their mouths, whereas generic vamps get generic prostheses.
  • Fantastic Religious Weirdness: Willow nailing crosses to her bedroom as well as more general cosmology.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: They're all real, according to Giles. He bought the Time-Life volumes; he knows what he's talking about.
  • Fantasy Pantheon: All gods seem to be real besides for "the" God and there are a group of god-like beings called The Powers That Be. There are also beings known as Hellgods, which can be killed. Oh, and the Old Ones are there, too. There's an unnamed goddess mentioned a few times by Willow (probably The Goddess of Wicca). Basically, there's a fuckton of gods.
  • Fatal Flaw: Pride seems to be a popular one.
  • Feminist Fantasy
  • Femme Fatale: Inverted by Spike (a knowingly seductive, platinum-blond male vampire), who tells Buffy that she belongs "in the dark, with me." Especially pronounced in "Dead Things," the source of the quote.
  • Flashback Nightmare: Part of the Slayer package is flashbacks to battles of other Slayers in the form of nightmares. Angel Season 5 shows what happens when a crazy person gets them.
  • Flowers Of Romance: Subverted hard in an episode where Giles comes home and finds a trail of rose petals leading up the stairs to his bedroom...where his girlfriend is lying dead, having been killed by Angelus.
  • Follow the Leader: Both Buffy and Angel share similarities with the Highlander TV series, as good a guiding stick as any for a flashback heavy franchise. These range from a cabal of secretive "Watchers", to an Older Sidekick who strums guitar, and even Angel's smooth Plymouth convertible. A tongue-in-cheek essay on the topic can be read here.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Word of God says they hadn't planned to make Willow gay as of The Wish let alone even earlier in Phases, but then there's this exchange:
    Buffy: What guy could resist your Willow charms?
    Willow: At last count? All of them, maybe more.
    • Word of God is that they originally considered making Xander gay, in which case his meetings with Larry in Phases and Earshot would have been this.
    • Any dream Buffy has, especially involving spoiler:Faith, clocks, Little Miss Muffet or beds.
    • Anytime Little Miss Muffet is referenced, at all.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: For vaguely defined reasons, apparently because they think it is just corny, Vampires and demons do not cause problems on Halloween, and instead stay in their respective lairs and wait for the night to end. Spike is disgusted when a couple of teenaged Vampires try to cause trouble and explains that there are rules for this sort of thing, and explains that he is a rebel, whereas they are just idiots.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Darla, Glory, and (arguably) Buffy herself.
  • Franchise Zombie: Became this in an almost literal sense after the 5th season when Buffy dies at the end of season 5 and is resurrected along with the show at the beginning of season 6. Word of God was that it was meant to be over and done with at the end of season 5.
  • Freudian Slip:
    • Xander helping to gather Buffy's books in the pilot. "Can I have you —Uh, can I help you?"
    • Later outshined by, "We're your bosom friends! The friends of your bosom!"
    • Xander also does this in "Teacher's Pet", when seeing the She-Mantis in a rather tight and revealing dress: "It's the most beautiful chest— dress I've ever seen."
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampires: Angel is the first one and Spike mellows into one because of his chip and later his soul.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: Anya and Tara had barely any close personal interaction despite hanging out together for years in the Scooby Gang and their love interests being best friends with each other, possibly due to their vividly contrasting personalities.
  • Frozen Fashion Sense: According to Buffy, this is the dead giveaway. Another one is hilariously outdated dance moves.
  • Gaining The Will To Kill: This happens to Faith after she first kills another human being (as opposed to a soulless and Always Chaotic Evil vampire, demon, etc.) The kill itself is unplanned; she lashes out thinking the man is a vampire. It is her subsequent justification of the act—that the man was expendable, collateral damage—that indicates the beginnings of her Face-Heel Turn and her subsequent killing of more innocent people.
  • Gayngst: Despite having four (possibly five) homosexual characters, there is very little gayngst on the show. Larry suffers a little before coming out of the closet but by the time it's mentioned again, he's out and quite happy about it. Spike manages to bring out a little gayngst in Willow during "The Yoko Factor" but that too fades quickly.
    • Tara probably fits this trope. She's rather insecure, and worries that Willow will leave her for a guy. And she seems to have this a lot in the episode where her abusive family arrives in town, though a lot of it is metaphorical.
  • Girlish Pigtails:
    • Buffy sports pigtails while working incognito at a Greasy Spoon.
    • Buffy during Giles's dream sequence in the episode "Restless." Buffy's attitude in the scene is that of a much younger child, and Giles is essentially her father.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars:
    • The Leader of the Three has a scar over his eye ("Angel"), as does Kakistos ("Faith, Hope, and Trick"). The latter's scar is a memento from Faith, whose Watcher was slain by Kakistos.
    • Wishverse Buffy from the alternate universe ("The Wish") wears green camo and has a prominent scar across her mouth.
    • Spike has a scar in his eyebrow, shown later to be the result of a battle with a Chinese Slayer.
  • Graying Morality: Gradually, over the course of all seasons, the gaps between the clear white and black of the first season fade. Never hits Grey and Gray Morality, though.
  • Green Eyes: You'd think the casting call explicitly asked for them. Willow, Giles, Riley, Joyce, and Buffy all have 'em. Yet the girl whose natural form is a big, green ball of energy doesn't, thus this trope is averted.
  • Go Through Me: The whole gang does this to protect Tara from her abusive family. Except Spike.
    Buffy: "If you want Tara, you'll have to go through all of us."
    Spike: "Except me."
    Xander: "Except Spike."
    Spike: "I don't care what happens."
    • Xander tried this several times, and gets his ass handed to him once or twice. Mostly averted such as when he kept watch over Buffy in the hospital or the time with Jack O'Toole in the school basement with the bomb.
      • Though he has a major success with it at the end of Season 6 when pulling one on Willow, mostly due to The Power of Friendship .
  • Godwin's Law: Nazis have been referenced a few times in Buffy.
    • In "The Witch", Buffy says Amy's mother is, "Nazi-like".
    • In "Becoming Pt. 1", Cordelia says of Principal Snyder, "How about because youíre a tiny impotent Nazi with a bug up his butt the size of an emu?"
    • In "Gingerbread", Xander is dismayed at all the parents rallying against the occult. "Aw, man itís Nazi Germany and Iíve got Playboys in my locker!"
  • Good-Looking Privates: The Agents of the Initiative are quite handsome. Lampshaded, when Riley's Black Best Friend laments that they can't tell girls that they're demon slayers so they have to rely on their looks to get the girls.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Buffy does this to Angelus in "Innocence". She also kills Caleb by vertically bisecting him, from the groin upwards.
    • The scythe version was also attempted by Buffy on Twilight in Season 8 during their first fight. Twilight's reaction is kinda foreshadow-y.
  • Guarding The Portal: A major part of the series premise.
  • Guilty Pleasures: In-universe example. Spike, Giles and Joyce all watch Passions. Spike also watches Dawson's Creek.
  • Guns Are Useless: "These things? Never helpful." They really aren't except that one time, when they killed a smurf.
  • Gut Punch: Damn did this show love this trope. Of the most prominent candidates:
    • "The Pack" with Principal Flutie being cannibalized.
    • Season 2 has "Innocence," where Angel loses his soul and becomes Angelus once again.
    • "Passions," a few episodes later, where Angelus gleefully murders Jenny Calendar.
    • Season 5's "The Body," where Buffy finds Joyce on the couch, dead of a brain aneurysm.
  • Guy on Guy Is Hot: In "Chosen", Buffy suggests putting Angel and Spike in a room together to wrestle in the nude while she watches. Her eyes widen with excitement when she adds, "There could be some kind of oil involved."

    Series/Buffy the Vampire SlayerTropes H-N

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