Obvious Stunt Double: Buffy's stunt double was quite a bit larger than she. During one commentary, Joss Whedon says of the switch that Buffy "straps on her fightin' boobs". The stunt double for Spike was more heavyset than James Marsters, and wore a wig that did not quite mimic the slicked-back hair. Perhaps the most egregious, however, was when a heavyset cafeteria lady was replaced by a stunt double half her size.
Off to See the Wizard: Buffy refers to the hyena-possessed bullies in "The Pack" as the "winged monkeys".
In "Flooded", Andrew boasts that he trained flying demon monkeys to disrupt a school play.
In "Nightmares", Billy Palmer awakens from his coma and, seeing the Scoobies around his bed, says, "I had the strangest dream. And you were in it, and you..."
In "Empty Places", Rona says, "Ding, dong, the witch is dead" when Buffy is ousted from the house.
In "Grave", Willow gleefully says, "Fly my pretty, fly!" when she sends her ball of fire to seek Andrew and Jonathan.
The episode "No Place Like Home" takes its name from the movie, obviously. A similar reference is made in the Angel episodes "Over the Rainbow" and "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb." In that former, Cordelia clicks her heels three times (as Dorothy does in the film) and grumbles, "Worth a shot."
The Only One: The Slayer is supposed to be this. Due to some supernatural Loophole Abuse, it's only technically true until the end of the first season.
On The Rebound: After Angel leaves the show for LA Buffy falls for Parker, a TA in her class who promptly dumps her after a one night stand.
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The characters whose accents were different from their actors tended to maintain them quite well. There are a few exceptions.
David Boreanaz had a great deal of difficulty with Liam's Irish accent in flashbacks and in an episode of Angel asked that he not have to use it during an episode where he otherwise should have. It was lampshaded as part of the weirdness of the episode.
James Marsters was very good with his accent (as far as most Americans could tell), with only slight wobbles. Later in the series, according to some, he's finally mastered a lower-class overlay on top of an upper-class accent, allowing Marsters to play with his presentation of Spike, using his history to drive his voice to motivate certain scenes.
In-universe: Once Spike had to try and fake an American accent and it was hilariously awful.
This gets brain bending when you realize that this is an American man (James Marsters) pretending to be an upper-class Englishman (Spike's actual origin) pretending to be a lower-class Englishman (Spike trying to sound tougher) pretending to be an American (to fool Riley).
Alexis Denisof's accent for Wesley was normally impeccable, to such a degree that his natural accent sounds disturbingly false on other shows, but even he slipped once or twice.
The she-mantis in season one. The actress is from South Africa and her American accent is far from perfect. However, since she's a giant, man-eating bug, this could be acceptable or justified.
Opening Narration: Only there for the first season and occasionally the second, thankfully. First spoken by a generic narrator then by Giles.
Open Secret: Some people believe that The Masquerade in Buffy the Vampire Slayer was broken early on, if not before the show started. This is made much more clear in the Third Season episode "The Prom", during which Buffy is given the "Class Protector" award. Johnathon mentions while he's presenting that everyone present knows that Sunnydale isn't like other schools, but it's an unwriten rule that no one ever talks about it.
In the very first episode:
Buffy: Was there a school bulletin? Was it in the newspaper? Is there anyone in this town who doesn't know I'm the Slayer?
And when Wesley first came to Sunnydale and finds out even Cordelia knows:
Wesley: Does everyone know you're the Slayer?
The school newspaper has a regular obituaries section. We know it's a regular item because Oz mentioned always reading it first.
The Ophelia: Drusilla and, to some extent, Tara after Glory wrecks her mind.
Orcus on His Throne: Glory and the First Evil, both of whom spend long stretches of time not doing very much of anything.
Our Vampires Are Different: The vampires in the series are stated to be demons taking over a human body after they've been sired. Since the souls of the victims are gone, the demon takes over the victim's memory and builds on their personality, with a sense of unlocking new potential or getting rid of the humanity that was in their way.
A partial aversion, though, as the vampires here have pretty much the classic vampire traits: blood sucking, sunlight bad, crosses and holy water are harmful, stake to the heart is lethal, etc.
One point that causes a small degree of confusion in-series is the rule about vampires needing an invitation to enter a home: once they're invited the first time, they're always "welcome". And welcome signs count.
It plays with this trope in the Dracula episode. Dracula fits all the tropes you would expect him to in contrast to the usual vampires on the show. He can shape-shift, turn people into obedient minions, and he's more focused on romance than just finding food.
Our Werewolves Are Different: They can "infect" you even in human form. They don't just change under the full moon, they change the night of the full moon, the night before, and the night after. They can learn to suppress the change though this comes at the cost of transforming in broad daylight given enough emotional turmoil.
Our Zombies Are Different: Season 3 gives us Type V zombies, Season 8 gives us Type O, popped into existence by an angry witch.
Outlaw Couple: Most notably Spike and Drusilla, but also Angel & Darla, Evil Willow & Xander and Spike & Harmony
Papa Wolf: It would be wise not to harm or threaten Buffy (to a lesser extent the entire Scooby Gang) and let Giles find out. He may not look like much, but the guy isn't her Watcher for nothing.
Anya: Buffy's got some kind of job there helping junior deviants, Spike's insane in the basement, Xander's there doing construction on the new gym ó Willow: Wait, Spike's what in the what-ment? Anya: Insane, base.
Sunnydale is home to twelve cemeteries and and forty-three churches. And only one nightclub and Starbucks.
Planet of Steves: The writers of Buffy seem to love the name William and all its derivatives. Hereís a list of all the William variants used on the show: William the Bloody (Spikeís human name and original title), Liam (Angelís human name), Billy Fordham ("Lie to Me"), Billy Palmer ("Nightmares"), Billy Crandal ("I Only Have Eyes For You"), Billy Blim (the eponymous Angel episode), Willy the Snitch, and Willow's name being shortened to Wil (yeah, this one is a bit of a stretch).
At one point during Season Three, Faith strikes Willow across the mouth in genuine anger. Since Faith is a Slayer (and not inclined to pull punches even when she's in a good mood), only a solid layer of Plot Armor prevents Willow's jaw from shattering, and broken teeth flying about like so much popcorn.
Played with for Amber Benson as Tara. After she and Willow get back together, she's finally in the opening credits for the first time in the next episode...the episode where she dies. Joss Whedon said that he had intended to do this with Jesse in the Pilot, but didn't have the budget to make two sets of opening credits.
Blucas and Trachtenberg are really only partial examples. Blucas was marked for promotion from the minute he first appeared, and Trachtenberg was only a guest star for one episode, because her first appearance was supposed to be a surprise (and because Emma Caulfield had just been promoted in that episode).
Post Script Season: Season 6 after the show was Un-Cancelled and moved to UPN. After the series was cancelled for good, it received a comic book continuiation starting with Buffy: Season 8.
Private Tutor: One episode has Principal Snyder forcing Willow to tutor a Jerk Jock so he doesn't fail all his classes. And by "tutor him", Snyder of course means "do all his schoolwork for him so he can focus on sports".
Anya is considered to have become good once she's depowered and teams up with the good guys, even though she shows no remorse for going around killing people for a millennium. Of course, it helps that once she became human she stopped killing people and started romancing one of the Scoobies. Angel is forgiven pretty easily, as well, and most of the hostility the Scoobies direct towards Spike has more to do with his jerkass behaviour than his kill total.
A version of this is in "Doppelgangland". Apparently the Scoobies thought it was perfectly fine to send vampire Willow back to her universe instead of stake her, based on the fact that she was willing to go home and only kill people there, where they can't see it (she would be staked there, but the Scoobies had no way to know that).
In both Buffy and Angel, when Angel loses his soul, the characters go to great lengths to restore it - but they never try to do the same for anyone else who gets turned into a vampire. It's only because they already know Angel that they make an exception for him. Every other vampire just gets slain. It is possible they have considered the fact that Angel's soul was restored as (apparently very successful) punishment for the crimes of his demon half, and come to the conclusion that pulling a more-or-less innocent soul out of the afterlife to inhabit the body of an undead murderer might not be the most merciful of acts, but it's never mentioned on screen.
In one of the last season's episodes, Anya has killed over a dozen people and Buffy decides she'll have to kill her. Xander tries to dissuade her, saying that Anya's her friend, and Buffy gives him an epic chewing out on how she doesn't get to play favorites, while conveniently forgetting her own hypocrisy. The guy Buffy was in love with gets infinite forgiveness, but the person she only sort of likes? Has to die, no question.
A social worker sent to look after Dawn sees legitimately suspicious activity. Buffy, who has turned invisible, sets things up to make it look like the social worker is insane in a way which could easily get her fired or sent to a mental institution. This is portrayed as a comedy routine and we are apparently supposed to feel sympathy with Buffy harassing an innocent person merely because she's frustrating a main character.
Spike and Harmony are quite sympathetic in the latter series, mainly because they are both so ineffective as to be laughable, and because Spike is such a martyr for love. Meanwhile, Harmony is killing a whole bunch of people while Spike is completely unrepentant and cares so little for other's welfare that he helped a Big Bad bring on the end of the world at least once, and was selling weapons (demon eggs) - the sort which could kill entire cities - to the highest bidder.
Willow's Roaring Rampage of Revenge is forgiven fairly easily, even though (in-universe) it was really just luck and timing which prevented her from bringing about the apocalypse. She also flayed somebody to death. Given a notice in the final season episode "The Killer In Me", where it's pointed out by a bad guy who put a hex on her not for almost destroying the world but just because they're jealous. "She almost destroyed the world! And yet everyone keeps on loving her?"
Then there's Faith: A fellow Slayer, while she does pull a Face-Heel Turn and works for the Big Bad of Season 3, the Scoobies were pretty lousy to her, from Buffy being outright hostile to her when she first showed up, to all of them never blinking an eye that a teenager was living in a dump of a motel room, and act rather surprised that she would turn her back on them despite the fact that they all lied to her and betrayed her confidence several times. Later, when Buffy was giving Faith a "Reason You Suck" Speech about how she was a killer and how much she took from her, she conveniently leaves out that A) she was there to kill Faith and had already made an unsuccessful attempt on her life, and B) had killed The Mayor, the most decent person Faith had ever met (even though he was the Big Bad) and had cost Faith her home as well, while Buffy would get to go back to her friends, family, home and boyfriend.
Put on a Bus: Oz, Faith, Angel, Amy and Cordy. We know where all of them went, and all of them eventually return, even if for only a single episode. Everyone who survived in the final episode actually escaped town in a school bus.
The Renfield: Xander in "Buffy Vs. Dracula", Glory's minions.
Retcon: Throughout the series it is firmly established that Sunnydale is the center of all evil activity (thanks to the Hellmouth) and has been for a long time. However, in the first season, no one in town (including Willow, Xander and Cordelia) seem to be aware of the existence of vampires and demons until Buffy shows up. Whedon tries to cover this up by claiming that everyone in town was just ignorant and/or in denial.
Retired Badass: Giles in his youth was a rebellious demon-summoning warlock known as "Ripper".
Buffy: I've got a friend down there. Or at least a potential friend. You do you know what it's like to have a friend? (Angel bows his head) ...That wasn't supposed to be a stumper.
Mr Whitmore lecturing his Teen Health class. ("Bad Eggs")
"The sex drive in the human animal is intense. How many of us have lost countless productive hours plagued by unwanted sexual thoughts and feelings? (Xander puts his hand up) That was a rhetorical question, Mr. Harris. Not a poll."
Cordy bitching at Xander for dragging her out of bed for a ride. "What am I, mass transportation?" ("What's My Line, Pt.1")
Xander: "That's what a lot of the guys say, but it's just locker-room talk."
Rubber Forehead Demons: A lot of demons are pretty much indistinguishable from humans apart from skin tone and horns or some other head feature. There are also a fair number of non-humanoid ones.
Safety In Muggles: Someteimes people break off a fight by hiding in a crowd. The Scoobies don't want to break the masquerade.
Scenery Censor: The Monster of the Week in The Dark Age is naked when he comes out of his body bag in the morgue, with a conveniently placed autopsy table to cover his lower half.
Sealed Evil In A Six Pack: The Judge could not be killed in ancient times, so instead he was cut into pieces and scattered in a number of boxes around the world. Cue modern times and Spike and Drusilla reassembling them.
In the pilot, Buffy tells Giles that she's taken an early retirement, and suggests that if he's so keen on slaying, why doesn't he go slay vampires instead? Giles protests that he's a Watcher and his duty is to... "Watch?" Buffy pipes up.
After being inducted into the Scooby Gang ("The Harvest"), Xander and Willow are left discussing their new knowledge while the rest of the school parades around innocently. "It's like we got this big secret!"
Willow: [beat] We do. That's what a secret is, when you know something other guys don't.
Jenny Calender had a similar reaction to Giles demanding to know details of their "secret" date. ("Lie to Me") Unluckily for him, it was a monster truck rally.
Buffy makes a mess of advising Giles how to talk to Jenny in "Some Assembly Required":
Buffy: Speak English, not whatever they speak in...
In the same episode, Giles sits at Joyce's sickbed and chats about Buffy. Giles confesses that Buffy is having trouble in history class because she "lives very much in the now. And, um... history, of course, is very much about the, uh... the then."
In "School Hard", Buffy and Willow scurry around trying to keep Joyce and Snyder from exchanging words. Buffy, seeing Snyder coming, babbles that Joyce hasn't seen the boiler room yet.
In "Earshot", One of the headlines in Freddy's school newspaper reads, "APATHY ON THE RISE — NO-ONE CARES."
Shipper on Deck: A bunch of them. Dawn is a Willow/Tara shipper, as is most of the cast, Buffy is an Anya/Xander shipper, Xander's a Riley/Buffy shipper, Willow is a Buffy/Angel shipper, Buffy was an Oz/Willow shipper and more. And the First, who is, on some level, the people he turns into (he has their memories and stuff), was a Buffy/Faith shipper which means the Mayor likely was as well and the Mayor knew Faith better than anyone...
Buffy gives a shout out to Charmed: in the series finale, Willow, after performing the spell that awakens all the Slayers on earth, exclaims, "Oh my goddess!" This is the title of the fifth season finale of Charmed. Apparently Joss Whedon saw the title of the episode, thought it was awesome, and threw it into the finale.
Joss has stated that Buffy's last name is a Shout-Out to Cyclops (IE Scott Summers).
The one time Giles is skeptical of the supernatural effect of the week, Buffy tells him not to "Scully me."
Shrinking Violet: Willow and Tara. Also, Marcie Ross from the first season is this trope taken Up to Eleven: She was so shy that she eventually began to feel invisible, a feeling that was made worse by the fact that no one in school really noticed her. The power of the Hellmouth made that feeling into reality and Marcie could no longer be seen by anyone.
The Anointed One's guardian, Abasalom. ("When She Was Bad")
A Catholic Priest, Josephus du Lac, wrote a number of books containing dark rituals, resulting in du Lac being excommunicated. ("What's My Line?")
Six Student Clique - The high school years: Buffy = The Head and The Wild One, Willow = The Smart one, Xander = The Quirk, Cordelia = The Pretty one, Oz = The Muscle. During college, Riley became the muscle and Tara became the pretty one.
Darla is a villainous subversion. First introduced to us as a simpering 'victim,' she ends up luring two hapless males into her web.
Slave Mooks: Strangely common. The mooks of the various Big Bads are this, some only because of the Big Bad being a veryBad Boss and some due to brainwashing. Also shows up with some weekly villains like the giant worm demon thing in Bad Eggs' baby-controlled people and Spike becomes one for a bit in Season 7.
Smoking Is Cool: Spike, Faith. Parodied with Harmony, who tries to smoke and well, looks like an idiot.
But not as much of an idiot as Andrew does, in his opening "Storyteller" fantasy, when he has his big Meerschaum pipe. (Which he still hasn't got the hang of, when he pops up in Angel...No, not like that!)
Subverted in "Nightmares". Smoking gets you beat up by a boogeyman
Not to mention The Slayer. Though starting with the second season, there were actually two or more Slayers due to supernatural Loophole Abuse). With the exception of the third season, the latter part of the seventh season, and the eighth season, any Slayers other than Buffy were usually Put on a Bus somewhere.
Spider-Sense: Slayers are said to be very attuned to vampires in the area; trying to sneak up on one is a bad idea. However, we've seen normals like Giles use this ability, too, so it could just be a matter of training.
Similarly, Angel is able to detect Darla lurking in his apartment ("Angel"). The spin-off series established (late in its run, waaaaay at the end of Season Five) that vamps can sense each others' presence.
Fortunately for Angel, he has a spare Slayer stewing in jail.
The opposite is in effect, too. Angel turns up again in the Series Finale, ready to help fight the Big Bad, but Buffy immediately sends him away so he can prepare "a second front" in Los Angeles in case she dies.
Tailor-Made Prison: Unique example with Angelus having his soul restored to torment him (which he gets out of via perfect happiness brought on by deflowering Buffy.) The Ubervamps are in one (the Hellmouth) as well.
Talking in Your Dreams: Buffy and Angel in "Amends", though there's no actual talking involved. The First Slayer also communicates with Buffy and the gang this way in "Restless".
Tangled Family Tree: Angel has one, which gets even worse on his own show and in Buffy Season 7. The Master sired Darla, who sired Angel, who sired Drusilla who sired Spike. Angel killed Darla, who was later brought back from the dead on Angel, as a human. Dru then sired Darla, making her Darla's mother grandchild and Darla her own Great Grandchild. This makes Spike her brother and Great Grandchild and Angel her son and Grandfather. Angel and Darla then break the laws of reality, having a child. This child is Angel's brother, child and Great Grandchild. His Grandchild/Brother/Child then has Jasmine with Cordelia, making Jasmine his Grandchild, Great Great Grandchild and Niece. Meanwhile, Spike went on a siring rampage against his will. Some of those vamps can be assumed to have sired others, making them all clean, if numerous, branches on a very fucked up tree. I would imagine Spike and The Master would be looking on with horror as to what's going on behind/in front of them on the family tree.
Tap on the Head: Dear god, this happens a lot. Giles should be brain damaged by now.
Lampshaded numerous times, by Giles himself and other characters.
There Can Only Be One: Mostly averted with the Slayers. In theory, there is only supposed to be one slayer in each generation. (At least, as indicated by the page quote.) However, due to Buffy's first death, a girl named Kendra became a Slayer. After Buffy was resurrected, they both acted as Slayers. Then, a year later, Kendra was killed by Drusilla and Faith became a Slayer, resulting in a similar situation.
Of course, it's averted at the end of Season 7, when Willow casts a spell to make all of the Potential Slayers into full fledged Slayers.
Oddly absent in Seasons 5 and 6, when Buffy dies a far more permanent (supposedly, anyway) death, but no new slayer appears, or is even mentioned.
Because as far as the rules were concerned, Buffy died already. Instead of calling a third Slayer, Buffy's death in season 5 caused a disruption in the Slayer line that led to the events of season 7. (To elaborate on that, the Slayer line runs through the most recently called Slayer. In other words, Faith was the rightful Slayer at the time. In order for a third Slayer to be called, she, not Buffy, would have to die. Buffy's continued existence after her second death represents a weak point in the line, because Buffy herself doesn't belong.)
Title Drop: "I'm Buffy. The vampire slayer. And you are?"
Many episodes have a title drop on the episode title as well.
Too Happy to Live: This trope is Joss's best friend in life. Seriously, it happens to alot of people.
Took a Level in Badass: Xander, Willow, Giles, Dawn, Warren, Amy, Harmony, Oz, the entire 1999 Class of Sunnydale High, ALL of the Potentials and more. Giles' levels are more "Regained Levels In Badass" though.
Town with a Dark Secret: There's an entrance into Hell under the high school, the Mayor wants to be a demon, vampires rise from the cemetery every night and there are buried (sometimes magical) treasures hidden in the right mausoleum. The secret government lab under the college is the least exciting secret there was.
The Bronze seems to have an unlimited refurbishment and furniture-replacement budget and, throughout all seven seasons of Buffy, seems to have self-repairing capabilities (like the school) since major damage is completely fixed by the next episode. An exception is when Xander rebuilt the window jamb after a Sex Bot tossed Spike through the window.
The Magic Box is destroyed after Dark Willow, crazed by magic, sucks its contents dry. Her battle royale with Giles doesn't help.
There's also a dining-room chair in the battle-weary Summers household that's conspicuously duct-taped through most of the end of the series.
Lampshaded in Season 7:
Buffy: Every piece of furniture has been destroyed and replaced since you left, so actually, new house.
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: It's amazing how they just walked around Sunnydale High throwing words around like "Vampire", "Slayer", "Witch", "Demon", "Disembowelment", "Innards" in full view of others with no one paying attention.
It was implied that most of the town either knew or was in such deep denial that you could dust a vamp in front of them and they wouldn't change their views. Hell, it happened a bunch of times.
Vampire Invitation: You need one if you're a vampire. There exist loopholes though; a hotel is a public accommodation, for instance. For some reason, vampires are never savvy enough to just burn down the house from the outside.
Vampires Are Sex Gods: Mocked. Inability for a vampire to feed is a metaphor for impotence. Poor Spike...
Visit by Divorced Dad: Buffy encounters what she thinks is her father in "Nightmares", but is actually a cruel manifestation of all of her own insecurities as a delinquent daughter. She spends the summer with her dad over the first season hiatus, but their relationship remains frosty.
Also one could take note of Ted a robot serial killer who dated Buffy's mom so he could murder her that what are the odds, out of all the single moms in the city, he chooses Buffy's (who just so happens to deal with these situations on a weekly basis).
We Used to Be Friends: Faith, Cordelia, Angelus, Giles, Willow - a lot of characters at some point in the story.
Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Guns can hurt vampires and kill demons, so why doesn't Buffy load up? This is examined throughout the series, she Doesn't Like Guns for one thing, if vampires get the idea the job will be that much harder, vampires can be really good at dodging bullets and in any event it's a covert war, so even with something like a crossbow that's generally more effective and harder to come by such a weapon would be more conspicuous.
Even so, there were many instances throughout the show where a gun would have been the most practical way of dealing with the given situation. Guns Are Worthless, I suppose.
Buffy ended up working briefly with Riley and his wife in the sixth season in the episode As You Were.
World of Snark: Just about every character ever seen is snarky as hell.
Would Harm A Child: Many times, Der Kindestod stalks and preys on sick children within hospital, a monster in the sewers only eats babies, which in turn the vampires and mayor had no issues with attempting to give it baby sacrifices, Spike Killing the annoited one in his first appearance, though at this point he was less of a child and more full fledged demon a demon was stalking a kid in his nightmares which in turn the nightmare became one with reality, the demons in "Anne" had a few children as slaves, the list goes on.
Yaoi Fangirl: It's revealed that Buffy's one in "Chosen" when she says to Spike "You know one of these days, I'm just going to put the two of you on a room and let you wrestle it out" When Spike seems to like the idea, Buffy then excitedly adds, "There could be oil of some kind involved."
Buffy: Oh, Will, you're supposed to use your powers for good.
Coming right after a discussed example, when Willow comments on how tragic it is that the original Ted's brilliance was turned to evil. Though this isn't addressed to the villain, and it's a might-have-been uttered when it's far too late for him.
Glory does this to 2 of her minions in "Intervention" (although they're in the next episode, so whatever she did can't be that bad).
You Look Familiar: Spice Williams plays the police instructor who tries to murder Buffy, Patrice, in "What's My Line?" She also appeared in "The Zeppo" as a member of the Sisterhood of Jhe, and later turned up on Angel as a convict hired to kill Faith in prison.
Jeff Kober first appeared in season three episode "Helpless" as a vampire named Kralik. He appeared again during season six as warlock Rack.
Your Vampires Suck: Aimed at Anne Rice a few times, but Buffy's also been on the receiving end.
Dracula gets this a lot from Spike. To be fair, Drac still owes him money.