YMMV / Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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     The 1992 Film 
  • Acceptable Targets:
    • White Anglo-Saxon Protestants: Buffy's parents being the Reagan/Bush era variation on the old theme.
    • Jocks. In this instance, basketball players.
    • British people. Buffy calls Merrick a "scone-head." (Joss attended Winchester College for two years, and recorded what he saw in the Watcher's Council.)
    • A character remarks that he thinks the soulless, cruel, evil vampires "were Young Republicans".
  • Accidental Innuendo: "I was just saving your butt!... Well, there was an exchange of butts..."
  • Adaptation Displacement: Some fans of the series probably weren't even aware that a movie was made. Few have seen the movie. Whedon considers his script — not the film that was actually made — to be canon.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Amilyn, mostly for his death scene and for being played by Pee-Wee Herman himself, Paul Reubens.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The Divinyls performed a cover of "Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore" for the soundtrack, originally performed in 1966 by the Young Rascals, but also covered in 1977 by Angel.
  • Ho Yay: The scene where Amilyn watches over Lothos as he sleeps and kisses his hand makes you wonder...
  • Memetic Mutation: Amilyn's death scene is basically what most people remember from the film: "Ooooh, aaaaah, ooooh, aaaaah!"
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: The planned Whedon-less reboot film got this reaction from a lot of people, which may have been part of the reason that it got staked.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Hilary Swank as Kimberley, one of Buffy's Girl Posse. Ben Affleck and Ricki Lake in bit parts, as a baseball player and a waitress respectively. Though his scene got left on the cutting room floor, Seth Green (Oz from the series) does appear on the tape, and DVD covers.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: This movie did okay for a low-budget film in its theatrical release but proved to be a cult favorite on videotape. It was this cult status that ultimately inspired the TV series, which ironically now tends to make the movie look bad by comparison.
  • So Okay, It's Average: It's not a masterpiece and looked on unfavorably by folks who only know the series from the TV show. But in it's own right, it's a good horror/superhero origin film with some great bits of comedy and character development.
  • Tear Jerker: Merrick dying in Buffy's arms.
  • Vindicated by Cable: Where it continues to air practically every week.

     The Series (Tropes A - G) 
  • Accidental Innuendo: Before their relationship begins in "Smashed" — a Running Gag is Buffy continuously mistaking something Spike says for innuendo e.g. "rough-and-tumble" or "grunt work" — hinting that despite Buffy's denials she has begun thinking about Spike sexually. Later when she is secretly having sex with him, the Scoobies keep making comments that remind Buffy of what she's up to, e.g. "We know you've been all tied up." and "You've been going at it too hard, slinging the doublemeat and pounding the big evil."
  • Actor Shipping: "Sariza", short for Sarah Michelle Gellar and Eliza Dushku who play Buffy and Faith respectively. Given the amount of pure tension (and some UST too) the characters have to each other it's no wonder. When asked about this at a convention, Eliza Dushku said that Faith "definitely had a thing for Buffy" and admitted to playing up the Les Yay between them.
    • Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz. It helps that Sarah is a hardcore Bangel shipper and has been known to call Angel Buffy's "one true love." When asked on a Reddit if she preferred Angel or Spike, her response was 'Angel', in all caps.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Even for those who don't like Kendra, it was a shame to see her taken out by Drusilla so easily. Especially when you remember that she spent her entire life training to be the Slayer and when she was finally chosen she lasted less than a year.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Or rather, Alternate Episode Interpretation. The much maligned "Beer Bad" is actually a really funny and enjoyable episode if you approach it as just an amusing story than an anvilicious lecture.
    • Also, the infamous mental asylum episode in season 6.
    • Joss Whedon says to bring your own subtext and the way the characters act and are presented have led to a lot of discussions about them. Is Buffy still the nice girl she began as that's cracking from what's happened to her, or has she become a domineering bitch? Did Willow bring her Back from the Dead simply because of how much she cares for her, or does Willow want to show off?
    • Is Buffy's jerkass behavior between season 6 and most of season 7 result in all the past trauma from the previous seasons, including being yanked from heaven in season 6, taking it's toll on her?
    • In "Once More with Feeling," a sizable number of fans suspect Dawn really did summon Sweet and Xander was covering for her. This would explain how Xander is able to sing about not knowing what's going on despite the songs forcing you to tell the truth.
    • Given Xander's behavior throughout Season 6, first insisting that his and Anya's engagement be kept secret from the gang, and continuing to have serious insecurities about it until finally he leaves Anya at the altar, it's easy to interpret as his never wanting to marry her, and only proposing because he thought the gang had no chance of beating Glory and he wanted to give Anya a bit of happiness before the end.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: None of the cast thought "Once More With Feeling" would work since James Marsters (Spike) and Anthony Stewart Head (Giles) were the only ones with any actual singing experience. Now? The episode is considered by many fans to be a series high point and a rare occurrence where a show's Musical Episode is not a sign of it having jumped the shark.
  • Angst? What Angst?: In the second episode Xander and Willow's so-called best friend Jesse gets turned into a vampire, and Xander is forced to slay him. Neither Xander nor Willow seem that affected by this event, especially over the long term, and he is never mentioned again.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Played with in the premiere with Dracula. Though he demonstrates powers no other vampire in the series has, he's still treated like a bad joke by Spike, and easily defeated. Subverted on his return in season eight.
  • Author's Saving Throw: In Season 6, magic was portrayed as akin to a drug, which was highly dangerous and addictive, and could even lead to users becoming "junkies" willing to do anything for a "fix," as happened to Willow slowly over the course of the season. Joss Whedon himself didn't like this development, and fans agreed; Season 7's first episode featured a scene where Giles explicitly states that magic is not addictive, and it's explained that Willow's actions were actually due to her not using magic. This, of course, made hash of most of the storyline of Season 6. It does qualify as an author's saving throw, or at least close, but it's not a retcon. Giles' line is "This isn't a hobby or an addiction. It's inside you now," implying that this is a change for Willow due to her actions at the end of the last season. Willow got addicted to magic because she has an addictive personality, as much to power as to magic. What with Tara expressing her concern in Season 5, this was already on its way to becoming Willow's character arc, and "Tabula Rasa" is very much in tune with her behavior in the rest of the series. Unfortunately, "Smashed" and "Wrecked", which bring her addiction to its climax, are about the most Anvilicious episodes in the whole series. In the latter, she realizes she has a problem because she hurt Dawn with magic. Or rather, wrecked the car she and Dawn were in because she was high on magic. Just like addicts in real life!
  • Anvilicious:
    • Willow's storyline in Season 6 (drug addiction) "Beer Bad" (alcoholism), "Pangs" (atrocities to Native Americans), "Halloween" (female empowerment).
    • While pants-soilingly disturbing, the most heavy-handed part of "Gingerbread" (about prejudice) was when Cordelia fire hosed down the brainwashed parents.
  • Award Snub: Many think Sarah Michelle Gellar was legitimately deserving of awards for her work in "The Body".
  • Badass Decay:
    • Formerly known as Spikeification, as Spike went from an intimidating presence who was cool in his evil-doing and clever enough to fool Angelus, to a sort of Butt Monkey who lost most of his cool, and nearly all of his evil and cleverness. He got over it by Season 7 (though at the ultimate cost of his life), and completely inverted it when he was revived and moved to LA afterwards.
    • It's the price that had to be paid for keeping Spike around. S2 & S3 Spike was established as such a badass, that Buffy could never have a conceiveable excuse for not dusting him if she got the opportunity to, and badass Spike would of course kill Buffy if he could. The two could only co-exist if Spike was rendered to be a non-threat, such as the chip he gets in S4. Of course a harmless Spike is anything but a Badass — and the Scooby Gang never tire of reminding Spike of this in S4.
  • Base Breaker:
    • Faith. Does she use all her misfortune as a excuse to be a heartless, violent bitch, or is she genuinely a victim who has been pushed off the rails and needs all the support she can get? There are also those who argue that she was offered support, but chose not to take it, preferring to resume her sociopathic, reckless lifestyle for her own selfish benefit. Or was she so unused to being offered friendship and understanding that she just couldn't process it?
    • Buffy herself, mainly in the show's later seasons. Her sleeping with Spike, Holier Than Thou attitude towards both the Scoobies and the Potentials, and taking an entire season to claw her way out of depression being some of the main points of contention. However, there are others who think these actions are justified, considering her friends unwittingly yanked her out of Heaven.
    • Surprisingly enough, Spike. There are those who think he's hilarious and one of the best parts of the show, others think we saw too much of him in the later seasons and can't put up with his constant wangsting about Buffy not returning his feelings.
    • Xander, either the lovable Butt Monkey and Heart of the Slayer Machine, or a hypocritical jerk who is way too judgmental of Buffy whenever she screws up, especially in regards to Angel and Spike — or any other guy she's interested in, for that matter, even when it's none of his business.
    • Kendra. Either a narmy Ethnic Scrappy with a ridiculous accent who is especially boring when compared to her successor Faith, or a genuinely interesting addition to the slayer mythos who had sufficient enough chemistry with Buffy to make for some great storylines. There's also a third party believing her to be a better character than Faith.
    • Drusilla. Sick, twisted psychopath who deserved everything that was coming to her? Or ultimately just another one of Angelus's victims, and not nearly lucid enough to fully understand or take responsibility for her actions? Even among her fanbase, there's some debate as to whether she should be enjoyed as a straight-up, gleefully wicked villain or a tragic example of what could've happened to Buffy without Slayer strength and a network of supportive friends.
    • Harmony. Harmless comic relief character or annoying Karma Houdini?
    • The same goes for Andrew. Some think his presence was much-needed in the dark final season and that he had some great one-liners and Character Development. Others prefer Xander (who by this point in the show had matured quite a bit) or Anya dishing out the humor instead. There's also Andrew's killing of Jonathan. Does he truly redeem himself, or does he get off way too easy? Oh, and does he deserve to actually become a part of the Scooby Gang in the comics after essentially shoehorning himself into the group, when it really should have been Jonathan all along?
    • Wood. His backstory was certainly interesting (he's the son of a slayer Spike killed), but the fandom is split over whether he really needed to be introduced in the final season and if he served any actual purpose before or after "Lies My Parents Told Me" other than a Last Minute Hookup with Faith (which is in itself a Broken Base, for those who prefer Faith without a love interest or with Buffy).
    • The Big Bad of Season Seven, The First Evil. Either a legitimately frightening presence made cool because it can assume the form of anyone who has died, or a ridiculous final villain that only accomplishes anything through its Dragon, Caleb, and which did not require an entire season to defeat.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • After the opening theme rolls in the episode "The Body" we see a five minute random flashback to Christmas dinner at Buffy's house that has nothing to do with the rest of the episode. Word of God has said the scene is there because they didn't want to have the opening credits playing over Buffy trying to revive Joyce.
    • The Men in Black subplot of "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" which was never brought up or mentioned again, not even when the Initiative showed up or when the army went against the Slayers in Season 8.
  • Bizarro Episode: "Restless" certainly qualifies.
  • Broken Base:
    • The comics: good or bad? Canon or not?
    • Buffy/Angel or Buffy/Spike? Buffy/Riley fans are a bit harder to come by.
    • There are those who prefer the high school setting as opposed to the darker, more "grown up" atmosphere of later seasons (and vice versa).
    • Should the show have been uncancelled or were Seasons 6 and 7 a waste of time?
    • Xander telling Buffy to kick Angel's ass instead of telling her about the spell: Xander putting the world first, or Xander limiting Buffy's options in the battle because he hated Angel and he ultimately subverted the group for his own needs?
    • Did Spike's becoming a Breakout Character who became to a minority of fans the main character of the series, and certainly took a lot of the spotlight, be a good, a bad thing, or somewhere in between become a welcome addition? When did he move from Villain to Anti-Hero, which can be argued to be anytime from when he realized he could kill demons, just not humans, and started doing so, to on the other extreme only when his soul was restored?
    • Was Season Five dull and Dawn a Wangst-y Scrappy character or was it a fitting end for the show and a nice attempt to get in touch with a newer generation of fans? In addition, did Dawn happen to "grown up" in Season 7, or she is still her same annoying self?
    • Tara as a character and her relationship with Willow. Groundbreaking for its time and/or poorly written, poorly acted and too abrupt.
      • And related to this one; was Willow truly a lesbian or was she secretly bisexual? Many people have argued that the show perpetuated biphobia by not even exploring the possibility that she could love men and women, whereas a similarly sized proportion of the fandom have pointed out that there are many lesbians *in real life* who used to date men before they realized they were gay, and that this shouldn't be ignored.
    • Good luck trying to leave unscathed if you happen to bring up the infamous mutiny at the end of "Empty Places."
    • A smaller one but could start flame wars back in the day. In "Selfless" who was in the right: Buffy or Xander? The show doesn't take either person's side but that didn't stop fans from trying.
  • Cargo Ship: Kendra and her favorite stake, Mr. Pointy. Actually, slayers and stakes in general, especially if you've played the Chaos Bleeds game and remember Faith quipping about all the alternative uses she's found for a stake.
  • Continuity Lock-Out: Wood in season 7. Buffy and Giles try to explain the deal with Spike's chip, soul, and trigger, only for him to give up at guessing the military gave Spike a soul.
  • Crazy Awesome: Drusilla, who's batshit insane, yet manages to be very effective in her evil-doing, pits Spike and Angelus against one another, and gets away unscathed every single time.
  • Creator's Pet:
    • Kennedy. The writers other than Joss knew how hated Kennedy was by the fans and often toyed with her almost getting killed. Joss, however, loved her, and so she stayed til the bitter end.
    • Hell, even Riley counts, for all the Character Shilling he received from Xander, who described him as the "kind of guy that only comes around once in a lifetime" in spite of him being borderline abusive towards Buffy.
  • Creepy Awesome:
  • Crossover Ship: Connor/Dawn has a surprisingly large army of supporters. Not so surprising if one stops to consider how different yet remarkably similar their circumstances are, not to mention how they deal with said circumstances.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: At times it seems like the show's moral is that nothing will ever work out for you, your life is just a long, hard slog through misery, and you might as well just kill yourself. Especially season 6, explicitly described as "Life is the Big Bad", and even Whedon admits was (in retrospective) hitting the Drama Bomb button too damn often and hard. The show also cements Joss Whedon's belief that "happy people make boring television" and his typical "being the Ensemble Darkhorse equals painting a target on your back for becoming Anyone Can Die fodder" action, which makes finding a character worth rooting for pretty damn hard.
    • Joss has admitted he loved each individual idea for the season so much that he didn't stop to consider that maybe having them all happen at the same time wouldn't be the best idea.
  • Designated Hero: For many fans, Buffy is the DH for much of Seasons 6 and 7. However, there were implications that Buffy wasn't exactly herself, being under even more massive pressure than usual, and having gone through several traumatic experiences in a short time. This has been played with several times, from Buffy's temper tantrum that she wasn't allowed to kill Faith and Angel telling her to get stuffed, to her being rejected by the potential slayers, to a storyline where a rogue slayer intends to kill Buffy because of how much of a princess she is.
    • There's also Spike in Season 7. For some reason, Buffy and the writers seem to believe Spike is in the right when he tells Robin Wood that he doesn't regret killing his mother, and that she never loved him. And frankly, that's only the worst time by a small degree.
  • Designated Monkey: Faith, again — the writers have thing after bad thing happen to her, and every time she gets closer to happiness they Yank the Dog's Chain.
  • Designated Villain: Before her Face–Heel Turn, Faith was treated as this. She was rightfully the Slayer and she was shown to be rather effective, nice, funny, and friendly. However, she's evidently supposed to be viewed as psychotic, lacking in morality and someone to avoid. Many of Faith's actions have been blamed on Buffy, from Buffy's initial cold shoulder to Faith almost causing a fight between them, to Faith's attempt to kill Angel (since Faith was scared of the horrors he might cause and Buffy didn't tell her he was supposedly reformed.) After the Face–Heel Turn, she becomes a case of Never Live It Down, note  and later in the series, some of Buffy's hatred of her stems from jealousy.
  • Die for Our Ship: A mix of this and Replacement Scrappy can be traced as the source for a good deal of hate for Kennedy. Granted, the character seemed to be a less successful attempt to recreate a morally neutral "Faith" type who was also a lesbian, but mostly there were cries of Too Soon. Kennedy's level of Satellite Love Interest was almost lampshaded by Willow asking why Kennedy liked her - Kennedy isn't able to come up with any real reasons besides Willow's cuteness and gender preferences. Yet, by the next episode, they're in a committed relationship. Even more shocking, they share just as many kisses in the show's final few episodes than Fan-Preferred Couple Willow and Tara do in almost three seasons.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Spike is a standout example. He's one of the worst vampires in recorded history, second only to Angelus, with two Slayer kills to his name, but he's so pretty, and his accent and his comical attitude, the fans just ate him up.
    • Faith. Those pants are personally responsible for some sympathetic views of Faith in fanfic. And lots of Freudian Excuses, a well executed Heel Realization, and a Heel–Face Turn works to excuse, well, most of her actions.
    • Caleb. Unlike Spike and Faith, he has zero redeeming qualities and no redemption... but he's played by Nathan Fillion!
  • Ear Worm: Most of "Once More With Feeling."
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Oz. Despite not having many lines and having the second-fewest appearances for a main character (second only to Riley), he is still one of the more popular characters.
    • Faith. Originally supposed to last five episodes, she quickly became a fan favorite and lasted right until the end. She would have even gotten her own show if Eliza Dushku hadn't declined to work on other projects.
    • Anya, who became a scene-stealer thanks to Emma Caulfield's comedic timing and was added to the main cast of Season 5.
    • Tara. Her relationship with Willow was a breath of fresh air and is portrayed as one of, if not the most, positive on the show. Fans cheered when she finally got Promoted to Opening Titles in "Seeing Red" and burst into tears at the end of the episode when she died.
    • Joyce. Initially supposed to last a single season, a positive mother figure proved enlightening in a show full of monsters and Joss' trademark angst. So of course people were devastated when "The Body" rolled around.
    • Jonathan in the early seasons when he was the go-to victim at Sunnydale High for anything non-lethal. Later, he was a Monster of the Week in Season 4, a reluctant Big Bad for Season 6, and had a tragic and pivotal death in Season 7.
    • Wesley Wyndam-Pryce first appeared as Faith's Watcher and was intended to be killed off shortly after. In the words of actor Alexis Denisof, Wesley was supposed to "come in, irritate Giles and Buffy for a couple shows, and then be gloriously terminated." In this case, it was the writers who saved Wesley, having grown fond of him at a time where fans still saw the character as a Scrappy after he inadvertently turned Faith over to the dark side. Once he moved over to Angel he quickly became a fan favorite.
    • Ethan Rayne has a massively disproportionate fandom and fanfic representation for a character who only appeared in four episodes, thanks to his importance to Giles's past and the sexual tension between them. It also might have something to do with the fact that any time Ethan shows up, wacky chaos is abound. Cases in point? Turning anyone wearing his Halloween costumes into the things they're supposed to be (i.e. little demon kids), spiking fundraiser chocolate so that it regresses the mind of adults into that of teenagers, turning Giles into a Fyarl demon, so on and so forth. As Spike puts it, "neat" things happen when Ethan shows up.
    • Spike's demon pal Clem was a Nice Guy who gloriously subverted Beauty Equals Goodness that he quickly became endearing in the eyes of fans.
    • Vampire Willow, an alternate universe Villain of the Week. Joss liked the character so much that he wrote an entire episode ("Doppelgangland") about her.
    • Vi and Amanda are probably the most well-liked of the Potentials. Vi for taking a level in badass during the final battle (and for being played by Felicia Day); Amanda because she is shown to be one of the more competent Potentials and actually chooses to embrace her destiny rather than whine about it like most of the others.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Spike, who, before he was turned into a vampire, was laughed at and wrote "poncy poetry", whereas when he was sired won over Drusilla, killed two slayers, and managed to pose a threat to even the mighty Angelus.
    • This trope bounces around with Faith. Though certainly cool it's obvious being evil comes at the cost of much of her sanity, and a big part of her redemption arc is realizing that Evil Is Not a Toy.
    • In an alternate universe, Xander and Willow got rid of their geeky sides after vampirization, instead opting for black leather and a smooth demeanor.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Vampires in general, for obvious reasons. The most infamous examples being Angelus, Spike, Darla, Drusilla, and of course, Vamp Willow.
    • Faith is Buffy's Evil Counterpart, wears skimpier clothes, and is unabashedly promiscuous and seductive. In Season 4, Willow describes Faith as a "cleavagey slut-bomb walking around going, 'Oh, check me out, I'm wicked cool, I'm five by five.'"
    • Glory, a.k.a. Glorificus. She may want to destroy the world, but that doesn't keep her from being pleasurable to look at!
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Buffy/Spike was this soon after Spike's introduction. It enventually became canon by season 6.
    • Buffy/Faith, which the creators have acknowledged as subtext and which many, many fans consider canon.
    • Dawn/Spike has a popular following, though not nearly as big as Buffy/Spike.
    • As mentioned in Crossover Ship above, Dawn and Connor are most commonly paired with each other.
    • Interestingly enough, for all that Buffy seems to be paired with nearly anyone, when the story is about Xander, he's almost universally paired with Faith. Which has its own creepy connotations.
  • Faux Symbolism: The Cheese Man that appears in everyone's dreams in "Restless", who Joss Whedon has said means absolutely nothing.
  • Fight Scene Failure: Happened a few times in the first season.
    • The other seasons aren't exempt from this. Notably the second season finale where the stunt man for David Boreanaz has a much thinner hairline than David, or Consequences, where SMG's stunt doubles face is shown front and center several times in the fight at the end.
  • First Installment Wins: Both averted and played straight. The TV show is much more popular than the film, but the TV show also massively trumps the canonical comic continuation for mainstream attention, despite as of 2015 being in print longer than it was on the air.
  • Foe Yay: Buffy and Spike (which later becomes Dating Catwoman), Buffy and Faith, the torture scene with Drusilla and Angel in season 2, Drusilla and Kendra, Giles and Ethan, Glory and Dawn, Xander and Spike.
    • Willow has this with herself in "Doppelgangland" when her vampire self from an alternate timeline blatantly hits on her. This was before the real Willow had come out, but was the first hint that she was gay, a full season before she came out.
  • Franchise Original Sin: Some of the major events that most polarized fandom in seasons six and seven, including Buffy and Spike hooking up in a relationship and Willow's witch powers spiraling out-of-control following her relationship ending, are (coincidentally or not) foreshadowed in Season Four's "Something Blue", to the point of the whole episode seeming Harsher in Hindsight. Heck, it even brought Amy back! (Albeit for only two seconds on-screen.)
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: A line in "The Freshman" provides the trope's name. For other examples, see the series' Funny Aneurysm page.
  • Genius Bonus: At one point you can see Oz wearing a name tag with "God" written on it. That is precisely what the root Os- means.
    • Speaking of Oz, he's in a band called Dingos Ate My Baby, referring to the Lindey Chamberlain case. One of Buffy's old school friends is named Ford, and later we are introduced to another one, Holden. All are symbolic of Oz, as in Australia.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The show was successful in the US but enjoys massive popularity in Europe, where the stigma of science fiction/fantasy isn't as pronounced. Of course, now Chiller, Oxygen, Logo, and Teen Nick are all showing it in the States.
  • Growing the Beard: Starting with the arrival of Spike and Drusilla. Full growth was achieved when Angel lost his soul.

     The Series (Tropes H - O) 
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In Season 4 Buffy and Faith switch bodies, with the former appearing a complete and total Jerk Ass and the latter desperately trying to gain acceptance. Compare and contrast season 7.
    • Especially if one looks at the comics. Buffy's atoning for her past actions in Season 8 while Faith assumes the role as the more responsible Slayer.
    • Also, in Season 2's "Halloween", Spike is about to kill Buffy, who is weak due to taking on the personality of a colonial-era proper lady. The comment Spike makes about her and her situation before he makes the attempt sounds alot like he's about to rape her. Way later, there's the infamous incident in Season 6...
    • Angel has mentioned several times that vampires can't have children. Now, go watch Season 3 of Angel
    • On an out-of-universe basis, the Season 2 episode "I Only Have Eyes for You", which concerns an affair between a (young) teacher and a student that ends in a fatal shooting. Depictions of guns in schools have become quite unsettling after Columbine, and the Pædo Hunt of the past decade turns what was supposed to be a tragic love story into Squick for many people.
    • In "The Dark Age," Jenny Calendar is possessed by a demon that jumps between dead or unconscious bodies. Willow realizes vampires, being dead, would attract the demon. Watch "Passions" and then go back and watch Giles fret "he's killing her" while Angel chokes Jenny into unconsciousness.
    • Another depressing real life example: in "Hell's Bells" Xander is shown a vision of himself in the future, in which he loses his temper and attacks Anya with a frying pan. In 2015, Nicholas Brendan was arrested for choking his girlfriend during an argument.
  • He Really Can Act: Joss first realized that David Boreanaz could carry his own show after being wowed by his performance in "I Only Have Eyes For You." In addition, fans who were still skeptical about DB's acting ability up to that point also changed their minds after seeing him play Angelus, which was a complete 180 from the brooding, lover-boy Angel we were used to.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: When Buffy first learns of vampires in Sunnydale? She confronts Giles and demands "What's the sitch?"
    • During career day, Willow questions out loud if she likes trees or shrubs (another word for bushes) more. Xander replies, "That's between you and your god." and that he definitely likes shrubs, while Buffy says "No shrubs for me!" Willow turns out to be a lesbian..
    • At one point, Willow questions if she's the only one who reads Doogie Howser, M.D. Fan Fic. Guess who stars alongside Willow's actress in How I Met Your Mother, and played the lead in another Joss Whedon project?
    • Although no viewer could have known it at the time, the whole plot where if Angel experienced one moment of true happiness, he would lose his soul turns out to be a pretty good metaphor for any fan of anything Joss Whedon has written since ever. (Although most of us tend to be more "constantly depressed" than "irredeemably evil.")
    • Season 8's Big Bad was named "Twilight" before Joss learned about a popular new vampire series by the same name which is considered by some to be BtVS's polar opposite. This gives a double meaning to some of the comics' dialogue.
    Spike: You wanna put these demons down and end this Twilight crap once and for all?
    • Another Twilight example comes from the first season when Angel is in Buffy's room (It Makes Sense in Context) he mentions how great she would look when she sleeps. It gets even better when all he does is sleep on her floor.
    • Twilight is so RICH for this. The first episode of Season 2 has Buffy telling Angel that girls don't think stalking is sexy. Apparently, Buffy is very atypical.
      • And forgetting her own romantic history of indeed finding Angel's stalking sexy.
    • And one of the final issues of season 8 aped Twilight: New Moon.
    • One more, Breaking Dawn. This was like, standard operating procedure for Buffy's sister.
    • Season 4 had a scene where Xander said this to a freeloading Spike:
      "You're a waste of space! MySpace!
    • The episode "Nightmares", when Willow says they're facing their dreams. Giles corrects her that it's nightmares. "Dreams would be a musical comedy version of this." This of course gets a Shout-Out in Once More With Feeling, when Willow sings "I've got a theory, some kid is dreaming, and we're all trapped inside his whacky broadway nightmare."
    • A somewhat unfortunate one in "The Body" that kills the mood when Xander says something that reminds of something else Joss has done recently.
      Xander: The Avengers gotta get with the assembling.
    • Another Avengers-related thing comes from one of Xander's lines in Teacher's Pet.
      Xander: Do you like Greek food? I'm exempting shawarma, of course, I mean, what's that all about? It's a big meat hive.
    • Yet another Avengers-related thing is the plot of "I Robot, You Jane", which involves a villain who controls the internet and makes a metal body for himself. Sound familiar?
    • The show had a Running Gag where Xander would keep accidentally making sexual or romantic comments about Dawn. It just seems like a way to poke fun at Xander and Dawn's crush on him. Of course, after Season 8...
    • After she first meets Angel Buffy says she really didn't like him. Over eight seasons the two had enough UST to detonate a sun and she is still obsessed with him in season nine, some thirteen years later, where the mere mention of his names makes her all warm and gooey.
    • The Gentlemen from "Hush" are considered to be influential to The Slender Man Mythos, and, on their own, can be considered Hilarious In Hindsight in that they sort of predicted the phenomenon. However, what's really interesting is that the person who played the 'Lead' Gentleman will be playing the Slender Man himself in the Marble Hornets movie.
    • In the comics Faith suggests there is little that she can be taught in the wonderful world of wetworks. Then we get Wet which not only has Eliza Dushku the character she plays could easily be Faith with even more bad language. Conducting wetworks.
    • In "Earshot," Buffy is frustrated that her telepathy doesn't allow her to read Angel's mind. That's pretty much the exact opposite of Sookie Stackhouse's opinion.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic features a major character named Spike, and a recurring one named Angel. They despise each other.
    • Spike being a fan of Manchester United in "Becoming", but supposedly being a Cockney, puzzled many British fans. The later revelation that he was actually a middle-class mummy's boy from London pretending to be working class made him fit perfectly into a common derogatory British stereotype of Man United fans.
    • Buffy and co had the Fan Nickname of the "Scooby Gang"... then Sarah Michelle Gellar played Daphne in Scooby-Doo.
  • Ho Yay: Buffy and Faith, Buffy and Willow, Drusilla and Kendra, Glory and Dawn, Xander and Spike.
  • HSQ:
    • Buffy vs. Angelus in Becoming, Part 2, culminating in him getting his soul back and Buffy stabbing him and sending him to hell for all eternity.
    • Anytime Buffy and Faith fight, which usually ends in some kind of tragedy or development.
    • Glory's a what now?
    • Awww... Buffy and Xander sharing a Friendship Moment and Willow and Tara are back together. Wait, what's Warren doing here with a gun...?
    • The ending of Lessons, where The First torments Spike by merging into all the previous Big Bads as well as Buffy herself. Not only is this Paranoia Fuel, but the impact of the scene is even greater if you don't remember "Amends" because you have no freaking idea what this new Big Bad could be.
    • Conversations with Dead People.
    • The final battle in Chosen, but especially the deaths of Anya and Spike. Oh yeah, and Buffy and Willow making every girl on the planet who has the potential to be a Slayer into a fully-fledged Slayer. Joss Whedon really outdid himself with that one.
  • Idiot Plot: The only reason the First Evil is able to be anywhere near as effective as it is in Season 7 is because the Scoobies inexplicably never come up with the idea of a handshake system to make sure the person they're talking to is really them.
    • Heck, they could have used a literal handshake, since the First Evil is non-corporeal.
  • Iron Woobie: Buffy. In no particular order, her mother's dead, her dad hit the road years ago, her love-life is largely limited to the undead, her role as the Slayer prevents steady employment, there's always some Big Bad or other gunning for her. Just for starters. She keeps a stiff upper lip and rarely lets it all get her down.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Faith and Spike. Faith is implied to have had a horrible childhood with a neglectful mother - and her Face–Heel Turn is prompted by the fact that the mayor genuinely loves and cares for her. He's essentially the first proper father figure she had. Spike meanwhile was looked down on for his sensitivity during Victorian times and his turn to vampirism was an attempt to overcome that. Despite this, he still ends up losing each woman he loves and being constantly told he is beneath them. What's more is that he turned his mother into a vampire to stop her dying from illness - which sadly didn't end well.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Faith. And Wishverse Willow. And Fan Fic writers seem to love making Xander's Fatal Attractor status go Up to Eleven, especially in Crossover fiction.
  • Love to Hate:
    • Glory. She's just so mean and so awesome.
    • The Master. He's so hilariously hammy.
    • The Mayor, in all his Affably Evil greatness.
    • Angelus. Almost no one can inflict as much emotional trauma on Buffy, and yet he is so fascinating to watch.
    • Principal Snyder. Especially after you see him in "Band Candy".
  • Magnificent Bastard: Spike in Season 2 and the very end of Season 4. Ethan Rayne had a moment or two as well.
    • The Master was a pretty cunning villain and he certainly had the Deadpan Snarker vibe down to a tee. He's also one of two Big Bads to cause Buffy's death, the only one to actually do it himself, and the only one to kill her twice.
    • Sweet from Once More With Feeling. He came to town, killed a bunch of people, made the Scoobies reveal a bunch of embarrassing secrets about themselves, nearly killed Buffy and left town without getting a scratch on him. Enough said.
  • Memetic Badass: Buffy's plan in season 7 involves Spike becoming this. Results vary.
    • Angelus, anyone?
    Buffy: They're trapped in here. Terrified. Meat for the beast, and there's nothing they can do but wait. That's all they've been doing for days. Waiting to be picked off. Having nightmares about monsters that can't be killed. But I don't believe in that. I always find a way. I'm the thing that monsters have nightmares about. And right now, you and me are gonna show 'em why. It's time. Welcome to Thunderdome.
    • Also, in a more unusual example, Xander. By any Real Life standards, Xander is Bad Ass simply by merit of the fact that he's still alive after seven years of fighting the Good Fight (or more, depending on whether you count the Season 8 comics as canon). In many a Fan Fic, this is taken Up to Eleven, and Xander effectively becomes the merciless god of his universe.
  • Memetic Loser: Xander Harris. The man shall always be 'The Zeppo' of the Scooby Gang, one of the guys who Whedon goes above and beyond the call of duty of putting through the wringer. The fact that his Crowning Moments Of Awesome are (for the most part) talking his way to victory (ex. bluffing a Mad Bomber zombie into running away on "The Zeppo", getting the rocket launcher to destroy The Judge, confronting DarkSide!Willow when she decides to wipe out the planet) rather than beat the hell out of the bad guy doesn't help. If anything, fanfic attempts to give him a level in badass tend to go the other way.
  • Memetic Mutation: The line "Dawn's in trouble, must be Tuesday" had been used advertising for the show, adapted in other media and around the web, and the comics themselves
  • Moral Event Horizon:.
    • D'Hoffryn was once Affably Evil amusing albeit demonic office boss. Then comes "Selfless" where he kills Anya's best friend when she was expecting to be able to sacrifice herself to bring the people she killed back to life, and making a casual pimp like comment that he "has plenty of girls".
    • The Trio were just considered a nuisance until Warren accidentally killed his ex Katrina and made Buffy think she did it. Then, there was "Normal Again" and, of course, "Seeing Red", after which even Dawn and Xander agreed that Warren deserved to die.
    • "Family": "Tara, if you don't get in that car I swear by God I'm gonna beat you down."
  • More Popular Spin-off: Angel and Faith compared to the Season 9 issues.
  • Narm:
    • The occasional instance of Fight Scene Failure in the early seasons. Also, the Special Effect Failure with the Mayor's Ascension in the Season 3 finale.
    • The very first Bronze scene in "Welcome To The Hellmouth." It's... pretty obvious that the band aren't actually playing their instruments, particularly the drummer.
    • The utterly ridiculous ease with which some Mooks and Monsters of the Week are killed. One of the vampires in "School Hard" seems to purposely swerve into the path of a cart kicked in his general direction.
    • In "Prophecy Girl" when Angel tells Xander that he can't give Buffy CPR because he has no breath, David Boreanaz delivers the line while winded and panting for breath.
    • In "Showtime" when Buffy prepares to fight the Turok-Han in front of the Potentials, Andrew says "two men enter, one man leaves". The problem is that he says this while there's dramatic music playing, making it seem like the show is trying to play the line straight - instead of for comedy like Andrew's usual nerdy references.
    • Xander tries to reassure Willow about the urn of Osiris. It's been broken before they could finish the resurrection spell (or so they think) and there's some sad music playing. Xander suggests patching it together with duct tape and crazy glue... completely serious, as if he genuinely thinks that will work.
    • In Season 7, after Buffy and Xander get back from their dates and people start joking about Xander's penchant for hooking up with demon women, Giles gets angry at everybody and chides them quite loudly about their unseriousness. Then he uses the flash cards he made for Chao-Ahn to make his point.
    • Season 6 is like this for some: Dawn is an attention seeking kleptomaniac, Giles walks out, Xander leaves Anya at the altar because he's afraid they'll end up like his parents, Anya sleeps with Spike after she returns to being a demon, Spike takes off after trying to rape Buffy, Buffy is near-fatally shot, and Tara is killed immediately after reuniting with Willow, who had just kicked her addiction to dark magic. All of these twists and drama bombs occur in such rapid succession that looking back, it's almost hilarious, in the same way an overwrought soap opera is. The writers themselves seemed to realize this in the last episode, when Buffy tells Giles everything that has happened in his absence and he bursts out laughing. After a moment's pause, so does Buffy.
    • The entire episode "I Robot, You Jane" was pretty bad even at the time, and has only grown worse with how dated all the references to the state of the Internet at the time have become. This is especially clear in the climax, where the villain's robot body deliberately looks ridiculous to illustrate how out of place he is in modern times, but it's now almost impossible to pick this out from all the unintentional silliness it's surrounded by.
  • Never Live It Down: Dawn was originally meant to be a preteen, but then Joss was so impressed with Michelle Trachtenberg's audition that she was changed to a teenager. Unfortunately, there wasn't time to rewrite the first few episodes she appeared in, meaning she ended up looking quite annoyingly immature in them, which many had a hard time getting past even when the crew did start writing with the casting in mind. Another aspect that stuck around despite being abandoned very early in the shows run was the identification of Buffy as a cheerleader. This was indeed a prominent part of the movie but only came up once in the series in Season One after which Buffy never shows the slightest interest in cheerleading again.
  • Older Than They Think: The "Normal Again" episode seems to be a Whole Plot Reference to the "Masks" two-parter of the Legends of the Dark Knight Batman comic. Both involve the main character undergoing a situation where they're made to believe that all of their adventures are just the product of their delusional minds, and they've been institutionalized the whole time. They even have the same ending, leaving it unclear if they were really crazy after all.
    • A lot of the show's original set-up seems to take inspiration from the original pilot film of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Both Sabrina and Buffy are transfer students. Xander and Willow have a bit in common with Harvey (shy, nerdy black-haired boy whose secretly pines for the heroine, although Harvey succeeds) and Marnie (nerdy red-haired girl who is even bigger outcast than heroine). The bad girls (Katie's friends/the Cordettes) originally aspire to convince the heroine to join them.
  • One True Threesome:
    • Buffy/Angel/Spike; between her fantasies of the two vampires oil wrestling and another fantasy of her in a nurse outfit chained to them naked, is officially canon. Even today no matter how much of a sweetheart Spike is Buffy gets all squiggly at the merest mention of Angel.
    • Buffy/Angel/Faith is another big one, what with Buffy and Faith having Les Yay out the wazoo and Angel and Faith having enough chemistry to get a spin-off comic series out of it.

     The Series (Tropes P - Z) 
  • Playing Against Type: Nathan Fillion as the sadistic, satanic serial killer working for the Big Bad (If you take the First Evil to be Satan and that Caleb had killed people For the Evulz before meeting it)
  • Relationship Writing Fumble:
    • Writers realized they were writing way too much Slap-Slap-Kiss into Cordelia and Xander's interactions, so they just went with it and made them a couple.
    • During an early Season Four episode Riley is seen comforting a depressed Willow at a party. Riley's sensitivity here and the chemistry between the two actors in this scene (arguably more than Riley had had with Buffy) led many viewers to believe the show was heading for a love triangle, with Willow stealing Buffy's not-yet-boyfriend.
    • "Something Blue": Buffy and Spike getting married was supposed to be a joke, but there was so much chemistry between them that the Spuffy pairing just took off.
    • Additionally, Willow and Tara's relationship was merely platonic. Word of God has said that he was considering making Xander turn out to be gay. But the chemistry between Alyson Hannigan and Amber Benson proved astonishing - so they made them a couple.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Kennedy was both the Replacement for and the Antithesis of Tara. Tara was quiet and shy, helped ease Willow more into the world of magic, showed genuine love for Willow, and was accepted as a member of the Scoobies in her own right eventually. Kennedy, in contrast, was direct, blunt (not in an endearing Anya-like fashion), insulted the idea of magic to Willow's face, and basically come on to Willow very strongly simply because she managed to recognize her as a fellow lesbian, with the relationship having pretty much zero buildup and the two characters having nothing in common apart from a mutual friend in Buffy. You can see why the fanbase reacted so violently to her, especially as Tara's replacement only several months (in-story) after her death, which caused Willow to go on a murderous rampage.
    • Riley, who spent so much time being "the other guy" after Angel (actually lampshaded by Xander) that they forgot to make him into an interesting character.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • When Tara was first picked as Willow's Suddenly Sexuality love interest, fans wrote such viciously nasty things about her all over the net that Amber Benson nearly left the show. Fast forward to her death two seasons later, and Joss Whedon actually received death threats for letting her go.
    • Her replacement Kennedy achieves this in season nine, where she suddenly becomes cool. She sets up a bodyguard agency and offers Buffy work, her personality is less about how gay and selfish she is and with Willow gone for the time acts the way she thinks her ex would. Loading up on guns, grenades and a sword for corporate terrorism doesn't hurt either.
    • Some fans, while approving of the character change, still simply wish Kennedy would be Put on a Bus as her appearances could arguably be the reason for other characters being put Out of Focus (though there is nothing confirming this, and Word of God has yet to comment.) Season ten suggests an effort to do this, where she had essentially become Captain Price with the idea of her Bodyguard Babes going full commando, acting as something of a vampire slaying gunwoman, a lot more mature, and figuring into the plot with giving Faith a job. Then it gets taken Up to Eleven where not only does Buffy reject her offer of help when everyone else suffers financial problems to the point of living on the streets the idea of going to her is dismissed out of hand, despite being able and willing to help.
    • Dawn actually achieved this for some in Season 7. With a bit of Character Development, less emphasis on the Distress Ball and contributing more to the group - the hate towards her lessened. Season 7 is a Base Breaker but people who don't like the season do list Dawn's character as having improved.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • A young Sarah Michelle Gellar seeks help solving the mystery of why her cookies are so delicious, with professional dick Seth Green on the case. This actually happened.
    • Amy Adams appears as Tara's bitchy cousin Beth.
    • Danny Messer being bitten by Darla in the pilot.
    • In "Reptile Boy", Machida, underneath the scales, is actually Byron.
    • In the same episode, Delta Zetta Kappa's newest inductee is Jesse Porter.
    • One of the members of the school swim team in "Go Fish" is Wentworth Miller.
    • Saverio Guerra, who played Willy the Snitch, is best known as Bob from Becker.
    • Billy Fordham from "Lie to Me". Roswell fans know him as Max, but seven years later, Jason Behr & SMG would be reunited for The Grudge.
    • Scott Hope is played by Fab Fillipo, who went on to star in Queer as Folk. It should as no surprise, then, that Scott came out of the closet in passing.
    • Scott Evil flies the Normandy (and Lance from "Him" shares a voice with Garrus Vakarian).
    • Gwendolyn Post is Dr. Molly Warmflash.
    • Nathan Fillion was fresh from Firefly. Whatever fan glee existed surrounding his arrival was crushed after Caleb's true colors were revealed five minutes in. People watching the show for the first time now, will likely recognise him as Castle.
    • Cordette #1 (the girl who is drained by The Master's blood machine in "The Wish"), Nicole Bilderback, played opposite Seth Green in the 1998 movie Can't Hardly Wait. She also appeared in Bring It On with Clare Kramer (Glory) and Eliza Dushku.
    • Kal Penn, more well known as Kumar and Kutner shows up as a random college student in "Beer Bad".
    • By this point, D.B. Woodside, who played Robin Wood in the final season, is likely far more recognizable as Wayne Palmer from 24 (Woodside actually joined the cast of the series in Fall 2003, the following television season after Buffy's finale)
    • George the Janitor from "I Only Have Eyes for You" was played by none other than John Hawkes.
    • James from the same episode played by Christopher Gorham aka Henry from Ugly Betty.
    • Robin Atkin Downes as the Snake King Machida in "Reptile Boy".
    • Keith Allan had a small role in "Listening to Fear."
    • Courtnee Draper played Annabelle, one of the Potentials, but she's known now for playing a different teenage girl with powers.
    • Pedro Pascal i.e. Memetic Badass Oberyn Martell once played the adorable campus dweeb Eddie in "The Freshman".
    • Dominic Keeting, who would go on to play Malcolm Reed on Star Trek: Enterprise, played a Watcher's Council guard turned vampire Mook in "Helpless".
  • Saved by the Fans: Spike, Faith, and Oz were only supposed to appear for a couple of episodes and die, but made such a strong impression on fans that the writers kept them alive.
  • Scapegoat Creator: Marti Noxon. As Joss Whedon was busy working on Firefly during Season 6, many fans hold her responsible for the Seasonal Rot.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Dawn, thanks to her constant whining and ungrateful attitude, as well as how useless and even detrimental she is to the Scoobies. She also has a teenage-ry selfish attitude and often lacks empathy. She matures in the final season, so that by the end of the series, while still disliked by many, she has gained a certain level of respect from the fandom.
    • Riley receives a good deal of hate from the fanbase, whether they belong to the Buffy/Angel or Buffy/Spike camps. It's not too surprising: Riley was introduced during a season considered to be one of the show's weakest, never had much of an identity established and was an integral part of the loathed Initiative. He also managed to enrage fans in season 5, when he becomes insecure over Buffy's attraction to darkness and resents her for "not spending enough time with him" when Buffy had to look after her mother (who was suffering from a life threatening and ultimately fatal brain aneurysm). When she gets upset about it he tries to blame Buffy for how he feels, and we're supposed to side with Riley. That and the ridiculous amount of Character Shilling he received from Xander in his last episode helps cement him as one of the most annoying Buffyverse characters.
      • Doesn't help that his return in S6 could be seen as telling Buffy what she had missed (now he has a great marriage), despite him demanding her help while she's working at the Doublemeat Palace to support her sister and herself.
    • Scrappy is not a strong enough word to describe the burning hatred fans have towards Kennedy. First off, introducing a new love interest for Willow so soon after Tara's death. Bratty, egotistical and selfish: lies to get Willow to date her, insensitive, helped cause the suicide of one of the Potentials with her Drill Sergeant Nasty act, ect. In the Season 8 comics the writers finally wised up and had Willow break up with her, though not without putting the heels to her character further and even the motion comics adding lines to make her look like an utter bitch, as well as portray the other characters loath her. She was actually voted the most annoying TV character of 2002-2003 in a couple polls and was included on the list of most annoying TV characters ever by EW, and no matter what the writers try with Kennedy, she may well be regarded as the most hated TV character ever.
    • Misogynistic Big Bad Wannabe Warren has a large hate base as well, for reasons not unrelated to killing Tara (which he did while attempting to kill Buffy).
    • Many find the Potentials as a whole pretty annoying; however, some are hated less than others, with Kennedy (mentioned above) and Rona (take Kennedy, subtract her good points or at least the writer's attempts at them, and add a dose of Ethnic Scrappy) typically being the most loathed.
  • Seasonal Rot: Seasons 4, 6, and 7 are the least-regarded seasons of the series. Part of the problem may lie in how the Big Bad threatens Buffy & co mentally as well as physically. After Angelus and Faith when she was The Dragon there has not been a villain who posed the best of both worlds. Adam and Maggie Walsh were more science vs magic, Glory was a big physical threat but the mental was downplayed, the Trio were a big mental threat after what happened to Buffy but could not match the powerhouses that were in previous seasons, The First was a decent mental challenge not on Angelus' level, Twilight seemed overshadowed by other villains and Simone was weak in comparison.
  • Sequel Displacement: Not many people know of the film.
  • She Really Can Act: Sarah Michelle Gellar received some particular praise at some points, highlights including Buffy's breakdown in "Prophecy Girl" after learning she's destined to die fighting the Master and her convincing performance as Faith-In-Buffy's body in "Who Are You?" Not to mention her performances in Becoming Part 2 and Ted, to name a few others.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat:
    • If you suggest that Angel is Buffy's true love and their relationship is tragic and believable compared to the Masochism Tango of Spike and Buffy, the Spuffy shippers will hit you. If you suggest that Spike is Buffy's true love and their relationship was gritty and realistic compared to the hopeless and boring idealism of Buffy/Angel, the Bangel shippers will hit you.
    • If you suggest that Angel and Spike had no interest in Buffy at all except for fighting over her because they're really in love with each other, the het shippers will hit you. If you suggest that neither Spike nor Angel had interest in each other and they both love Buffy more than anything else in the universe, the slashers will hit you.
    • If admit that your ship is Buffy/Faith, most people in the fandom will shrug, say "I can kinda see that" and move on.
    • If you admit to shipping anyone with Riley Finn, everyone will hit you, with the obvious exception of Riley/Xander, which is just common sense — in the comics Xander even admits to being a Team Riley shipper, which makes sense for his character.
    • Funnily enough, averted with Willow/Tara vs Willow/Oz shippers who generally tend to get along just fine. In their mutual hate of the Willow/Kennedy shippers, that is. There's also the fact that Oz and Tara are among the least hated characters in the fandom. Granted, both received their fair share of vitriol in the early days (especially Tara), but nowadays they are almost universally-adored by all fans.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Buffy using a rocket launcher to kill The Judge doubles as both this and a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
    • Giles discovering the body of Jenny Calendar.
    • Buffy sends Angel to Hell and leaves Sunnydale.
    • Buffy finally gets her perfect high school moment and wins the Class Protector Award.
    • Buffy vs. Faith.
    • The high school blows up.
    • Buffy comes home to find her mother dead of a brain aneurysm.
    • Buffy's sacrifice and final goodbye to Dawn.
    • Tara breaks up with Willow, Giles leaves for England, and Buffy and Spike are spotted at the Bronze locked in a passionate embrace, all set to Michelle Branch's "Goodbye To You."
    • Buffy and Spike literally bringing the house down as they have sex for the first time.
    • Tara's death.
    • Willow flays Warren.
    • Xander's "yellow crayon" speech.
    • Caleb gouging out Xander's eye.
    • The Final Fight and Willow making all the Potentials around the world into Slayers.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Two big examples.
    • Buffy and Riley. Granted, the writer's tried, but they tried so badly to make Riley "not Angel" that they forgot to give him any interesting character traits of his own - or any that would make him even the slightest bit compatible with Buffy.
    • For Willow/Kennedy in season 7, the writers didn't even try at all. Literally the only reason they start a relationship is because Kennedy is also a lesbian, and Kennedy seems determined to not have any likable traits whatsoever. It's a huge letdown after Willow and Tara's relationship, which out of the whole show had the most build-up and most development.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • Willow's first meeting with the Wiccan group where she meets Tara. The Wiccans dismiss Willow for suggesting they try actual magic, as they would do in any real life school. They're portrayed as being close-minded posers, despite the fact that The Masquerade is in effect and as far as they're concerned, Willow's suggestion is no more valid than it would be in real life.
    • The child services worker in the episode "Gone." She's portrayed as your standard Department of Child Disservices worker, but her points about Buffy taking care of Dawn really were quite valid considering, well, Buffy was having a great deal of difficulty caring for Dawn.
    • Kennedy and the Potentials in regards to Buffy's attitude. The main characters were too close to see how horrid she really was, then one by one realized she was the problem.
    • Xander's misogynistic co-workers at the construction site. They're cowardly jerks who end up blaming Buffy for attacking them rather than admit to her having saved them from a gang of demons. Still, the fact that they made the assumption that a woman of Buffy's size and stature with no visible musculature would not have the physical strength to do the job at the same level as everyone else on the construction site wasn't actually unreasonable (even if it was, obviously, completely inaccurate).
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Willow reams out Dawn for being a whiny crybaby in "Two To Go". And in the comics, she breaks up with Kennedy.
    • There was also when Buffy snarked about Dawn's position as a Damsel Scrappy.
    • Buffy gives Kennedy a well-deserved punch to the face in Season 9.
    • While it may have not been intentional, "The Yoko Factor" comes off as this when Angel and Riley get into a fight. It goes about as well for Riley as one would think.
    • Also possibly unintentional, Dawn starts singing an angsty song for 'Once More with Feeling' and is promptly interrupted.
    • In "Touched", Faith finally puts Kennedy in her place by telling her to back the hell off.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Whistler, the mysterious agent of the Powers That Be, who was originally supposed to be Doyle on Angel, but the actor was busy with other projects and they created the character of Doyle instead.
    • Back in season 1, an episode was about a student Marcie Ross who can turn invisible and by the end of this episode was taken by F.B.I agents to be trained in assassination and espionage. She never appeared again. Then again, it's debatable to see whether she "appeared" at all.
    • For the TV show, Dracula. A famous vampire with mysterious powersnote , has history with both Spike and Anya and is able to really get under Buffy's skin. His single episode ends with him being mocked and leaving, most of the episode really more focused on foreshadowing things about the main characters. The comics at least make more use of him.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Many candidates. Spike's chip is possibly the worst of them.
    • A particularly strange example (given the show's love of putting characters through the emotional wringer) is the lack of fallout from Faith sexually assaulting Xander in Season 3. The act is interrupted almost at once but the episode never gets raised again even after Faith is redeemed and joins the Scoobies.
    • Many fans still argue that the big redemption story of season 7 was given to the wrong character. Jonathan had been part of the show from the beginning, so it would have been great to see him repent for his being part of the Trio and finally become a hero in his own right. But instead he's abruptly killed off, and the redemption story goes to Andrew, who we'd only just met last season and hadn't done nearly as much to earn it.
    • Hell, all of season 7 was a huge load of wasted potential. Particularly the First Evil.
    • Conversations With Dead People. We could have had an Anya/Halfrek conversation, or Xander/Jesse (remember Xander's best friend?). Or especially actual Willow/Tara would have been amazing. Instead we got odd Dawn haunted house scenes that seemed like it would be a major plot point for the season, but never went anywhere.
      • Apparently they did try for Xander/Jesse and Willow/Tara stories but their actors were either, for Eric Balfour (Jesse) unavailable or, in Amber Benson's case, were clever enough to realise that Whedon was going to write them in as evil and did not want to leave the fans with a bad taste in their mouth.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Whether Spike deserved the audience sympathy he got after being chipped, whipped, and generally getting his ass kicked by characters, writers, and the universe alike is still highly debatable. Some do stick with the writers' interpretation (and intended response) that it was karmic retribution, deserved or brought on himself. Others think of him as a Jerkass Woobie whose ongoing Humiliation Conga made the heroes look like bigger assholes than him!
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Buffy in the Season 5 finale is portrayed as heroic for wanting to protect Dawn at all costs, even though she knows it means unimaginable suffering and probable death for herself - never mind that she knows that it also means unimaginable suffering and probable death for everyone and everything else in existence, including Dawn, meaning that she basically just wants to end the world for no reason. The fact that she eventually sacrifices herself is arguably not heroic either - she's the Slayer, and season 6 shows how fast Sunnydale could be overrun without her. The most noble and selfless choice for the good of everyone would've arguably been if she had sacrificed Dawn. The fans, after all wouldn't have minded that much. Her death was probably due to meta reasons of wanting an excuse to end the show once the 5 year contract was up and the writers didn't know if anyone would renew them.
    • Giles' departure in Season 6 was intended to show him realizing that Buffy's constant reliance on him was stagnating her own growth and he had to withdraw for her own good. But the way it was written comes off more like Giles coldly washing his hands of his beloved student right when she needs him the most. Many fans still argue that his absence due to Anthony Stewart Head wanting to spend more time with his family should have been something involuntary, like the Watcher's Council sending him abroad or getting trapped in another dimension, so he wouldn't look like a jerk.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Xander's definitely the Butt Monkey, but he's also the well-loved Heart of the Scooby Machine and a staple member of the group.
  • Values Dissonance: A big one in regards to Willow hunting down and executing Warren Mears. Andrew and Jonathan some fans give a pass as they were in jail at the time, and there is a split between those horrified by her actions as the show supported and those cheering her on. At about the same time Jack Bauer was torturing and killing in cold blood over harm coming to friends and loved ones, later on games with a Karma Meter would present cold blooded executions on those like Warren as the right moral choice, Once Upon a Time from some of the same writers would have the good pure characters subscribe to An eye for an eye and even Disney's Kim Possible would get in on the act and beat down and even try to murder those irredeemably evil. Suddenly Buffy looks like a whiner for being against Willow trying to kill Warren.
    • It's pretty hard to imagine a character like Andrew flying these days, with a whole Running Gag of "He's clearly gay, but we'll never actually say that out loud, let alone play it for anything but cheap laughs."
  • Villain Decay: The Turok-han suffer this hard once there's more than one of them.
  • Wangst: You're kidding right? Season six in particular was basically Buffy spending a year trying to claw her way out of depression and do something about those ruining her life. Not that she did not have good reason but the other characters did not fare much better. The series could effectively be written out for only four seasons if half of it was not centered on the characters crying about their torment.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: The two 'English' potential Slayers. One sounds passingly like Dick Van Dyke. The other is presumably supposed to speak with a posh English accent. Both sound ridiculous and nonsensical to anyone who actually is English.
  • The Woobie: Pick a character in this series who is not a woobie. The biggest ones, though, are probably Buffy herself, Angel, Willow, Faith, and Spike. Angel was an entire show devoted to making its titular character the Woobiest Woobie of them all. Buffy, Faith, and Spike (the former two as guest stars, the latter as a main cast member in the final season) don't fare much better whenever they cross over.

     The Video Games 
  • Demonic Spiders: Actual demonic spiders at that. They're quick, knock Buffy down in one hit (instakill on low health) and can not be punched.
  • Good Bad Bugs: When certain enemies are killing Buffy it's easy to go to the inventory and heal.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In a bid to be resurrected, The Master possesses Angel. In the first episode of season two The Master was not played by Mark Metcalf, but David Boreanaz.
  • Les Yay: Willow keeps referring to Tara as sweetie, and makes comment on playing doctors and nurses with her. As an alternate world vampire, Tara says Willow is a domme.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: The first Buffy game on XBOX is pretty much regarded as a must have title, even if you've never watched the show. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds is pretty good as well. Sacrifice and the Game Boy versions would be closer to the trope below.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Strongly averted in the first game, which nails the right tone of when the story's set and hits all the right notes. The second game is roughly on par with season six. The Game Boy versions on the other hand follow the trope to the letter, and the DS Sacrifice to a lesser extent.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/BuffyTheVampireSlayer