Recap: Buffy the Vampire Slayer S 4 E 5 "Beer Bad"

"It's nice. Foamy. Comforting. It's beer..."

Buffy is still recovering from being dumped by Parker and finds solace with a bunch of guys who become her drinking buddies.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Aesop: Too much beer is bad for you. Or perhaps all men are Neanderthals at heart.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy
  • All Cavemen Were Neanderthals
  • All Men Are Perverts
    Willow: There are men, better men, wherein the mind is stronger than the penis.
    Xander: Pfft. NOTHING CAN DEFEAT THE PENIS! [off their looks] Too loud. Very unseemly.
  • Answer Cut: "Where is Giles?"
  • Asshole Victims: The frat boys.
  • Bait and Switch:
    • Willow appears to be falling for Parker's charms, but then she laughs and tells Parker what she thinks of him.
    • Also, Cave!Buffy picking up a fire extinguisher, looking at the fire, looking at the extinguisher, figuring something out... and then tossing the extinguisher at the fire and looking puzzled.
    • Buffy clubbing Parker instead of the expected Golden Moment.
  • The Bartender: Xander gets a job as bartender and looks forward to acting as The Confidant to pretty girls, only to get run off his feet and insulted by arrogant frat boys. When one pretty girl does look ready to pour out her troubles, Xander brushes her off because he's too busy worrying about Buffy getting plastered with those same frat boys. He ends up quitting his job in a huff because the owner brewed up some cursed beer that turned those drinking it into Neaderthals. Some people just can't be satisfied.
  • Buffy Speak: Buffy is suffering the afterness of a bad night of badness.
  • Call Back: To "The Pack" when Willow appears to be falling for Evil!Xander's spiel, only to reveal she was playing him along.
    • Also to "Graduation Day, Part 2," where Buffy says that her mind is so fried all she can process is "Tree pretty, fire bad."
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : A common danger on the Hellmouth.
    Giles: I can't believe you served Buffy that beer.
    Xander: I didn't know it was evil!
    Giles: You knew it was beer!
    Xander: Well, excuse me, Mr. I-Spent-the-60s-in-an-electric-kool-aid-funky-satan-groove.
    Giles: It was the early 70s, and you really should have known better.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: Professor Walsh's lecture on the id.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Xander asking a customer if he wants his ice water on the rocks. Cave!Buffy and the fire extinguisher.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Buffy spills the beer of both Riley and the frat boys.
  • The Casanova: Parker; confirmed by Riley.
  • Daydream Surprise: Buffy keeps fantasizing a Rescue Romance with Parker. The second dream involves Parker with his shirt open, holding flowers and ice cream.
  • Death Glare: Buffy to Giles when he suggests she not drink beer.
    Xander: Giles, don't make Cave!Slayer unhappy.
  • Delicious Distraction: Several examples, though Willow's offer of soup fails to distract Oz from Veruca.
  • Devolution Device: The beer.
    Bartender: My brother-in-law's a warlock; he showed me how to do it.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Buffy is still distraught over Parker's lack of interest in her.
  • Everybody Lives: Buffy dusts three vampires in a dream sequence but otherwise no one die in this episode not even the bar owner.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: There's more vampire kung-fooey in Buffy's Daydream Surprise than usual, including cheesy action music.
  • Fur Bikini: Unfortunately averted, as Xander laments in "Something Blue".
    Buffy: Anyone remember when Buffy had the fun beer-fest and went One Million Years B.C.?
    Xander: Sadly without the fuzzy bikini.
  • Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter: Buffy calls Willow "Gutter Brain" when Willow takes Buffy's account of the previous night to involve group sex, not drinking beer with four guys.
  • Golden Moment: Spoofed; Parker learns his lesson, only to get clubbed on the head.
  • Held Gaze: Willow is alarmed over the way Oz and Veruca are staring at each other as she sings.
    Willow: Buff, have you heard of this Veruca chick? Dresses like Faith, voice like an albatross?
  • Hypocritical Humor: Willow was quite happy to be Oz's groupie; now she gripes over Veruca pigeonholing her as one.
  • Karma Houdini: The bar owner who caused the whole mess gets off with nothing worse than Xander telling him "You're a bad man."
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Cave!Slayer clubs Parker over the head again; Giles, Willow and Xander just shrug and walk off.
  • No, You: Buffy and the drunk college boys. "No, you stupid!"
  • Nubile Savage: The frat boys grow crooked teeth, heavy brow ridges, and plenty of extra hair. Buffy, who also had plenty to drink, looks like Buffy with sexy-unkempt hair (Xander did cut her off earlier).
  • Over-the-Shoulder Carry: As you do when you're a Neanderthal.
  • Painful Transformation: The college boys turning into cavemen.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The fake moustache Xander wears on his fake ID.
    Xander: What gives it away?
    Willow: Looking at it?
  • Perverted Sniffing: Cave!Slayer sniffing Xander. At the end of the episode, Willow is seated on a park bench with Buffy crouched next to her and Buffy sniffs her hair as well. Note that Hyena!Xander sniffed Buffy in "The Pack", so the sniffing has gone full circle.
  • Phlebotinum Induced Stupidity: A bar-owner brews up some cursed beer for some Jerk Ass college students that turn them into cavemen.
  • Quizzical Tilt: Cave!Buffy knows that fire extinguisher can help her with the fire, but just can't seem to work out how...
  • Rescue Romance: Spoofed; Buffy keeps dreaming of earning Parker's eternal gratitude this way, but when the opportunity arises she's a cavewoman so she just clubs him over the head.
  • Retroactive Recognition: One of the frat boys is Kal Penn.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The frat boys.
  • Shaped Like Itself
    Willow: I'm tired of you men, and your... man-ness.
  • Space Whale Aesop: The episode was written so the show could apply for funding from the National Office of Drug Control Policy, but they rejected it because the Fantastic Aesop was too fantastical.
    At least one show, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," was rejected after it showed itself to be immune to the drug office's worldview. "Drugs were an issue, but it wasn't on-strategy. It was otherworldly nonsense, very abstract and not like real-life kids taking drugs. Viewers wouldn't make the link to our message," says someone in the drug-policy office camp who read and helped reject it. [1]
  • Spoof Aesop
    Xander: And was there a lesson in all this? huh? What did we learn about beer?
    Cave Buffy: Foamy.
    Xander: Good, just as long as that's clear.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: The college boys.
    College Boy #1: All the socio-economical and psychological problems inherent in modern society can be solved by the judicious application of way too much beer.
  • Swivel-Chair Antics: Cave!Buffy manages to fall off one.
  • Technicolor Science: Brewing up the cursed beer.
  • Tempting Fate
    Willow: I tell you, men haven't changed since the Dawn of Time! [cavemen burst in]
  • The Exit Is That Way: Xander gently guides Buffy away from the other cave kids.
  • This Is My Boomstick: Xander scares a quartet of college kids-cum-cavemen with his lighter. "Fire angry!"
  • Think Nothing of It:
    Parker: Buffy, I don't know what to say. After the way I've treated you, and now I owe you my life.
    Buffy: It's nothing.
    Parker: It's everything. You're everything. And I'm going to do whatever it takes to get you to forgive me. Do you think that you might—
    [Buffy snaps out of her daydream at the sight of Parker chatting up another girl]
  • Title Drop
    Buffy: Ow, oh, want beer. Like beer. Beer good.
    Xander: Beer bad. Bad, bad beer. What the hell am I saying?
  • You No Take Candle: Cave!Buffy Speak