YMMV: Buffy the Vampire Slayer


The Buffy the Vampire Slayer 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.
  • 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 Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series:

  • Acceptable Targets:
    • Men. Depending on the writer the show could be a story of female empowerment which nonetheless contained plenty of good male characters, but it could also veer off into misandry a lot of the time. The majority of major antagonists were male; The Master, Spike (eventually redeemed), Angelus, The Mayor, Adam and The Trio. The First Evil could be either (though worked with the misogynistic Caleb). By comparison the only major female antagonist not to be redeemed was Glory. Faith was really a dragon to the mayor and ultimately redeemed (while the same could not be said for his other dragon of Mr Trick), Walsh was never a major threat and more of a decoy big bad considering how easily she was killed off, while dark Willow was presented sympathetically and of course Willow herself was redeemed. In addition, The First’s and Glory’s minions were male (with few exceptions). The Knights of Byzantium were all male. Most demons were exclusively male and generic vampires rising from their graves or attacking girls in alleys were almost always too (weird considering male vampires seem to favour biting women). In addition the Shadow Men were male whereas the good Guardians were exclusively female.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Awesome Music: Here.
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • Broken Base:
    • The comics: good or bad? Canon or not?
    • Should the show have been uncancelled or were Seasons 6 and 7 a waste of time?
    • 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?
    • 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 a closet bisexual? This was a topic that could start World War 3 on internet forums back in the day.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Angelus (see Buffy Verse)
    • Caleb from Season 7's last five episodes is a defrocked priest turned serial killer of young women, who uses the trust that people have in him to get closer to his victims, before torturing and killing them. In his first appearance, he guts one of the Potential Slayers and leaves her at the side of the road, as a message for Buffy. He then kills another one of the girls during a battle, mangles the arm of another, and puts out Xander's eye, cracking bad jokes the entire time. He also coordinates the actions of the Bringers, organizing the bombing of the Watcher Council's headquarters (resulting in most of their deaths), arranging the assaults on numerous Potentials, and trying to have Faith killed while she was in prison. A misogynistic sadist, who believes that all women are whores and deserve what he does to them, Caleb is The First Evil's right-hand man, and lives for the oncoming apocalypse, seeing the end of the world as a way to dispose of all those who do not share his mad religious convictions. He also gets a real kick out reenacting his murders with the shape shifting First. Perhaps the most frightening thing about Caleb, however, is that he is human, with nary a supernatural excuse, nor a Freudian Excuse, in sight.
    • Simone Doffler, the Big Bad of the Season 9 comic, initially started out as a rebellious slayer who didn't see the value of the lives of others and believes that Slayers are superior to normal people, and therefore should rule over them. In an attempt to soften her she was put under the watch of Andrew Wells, hoping to soften her; instead she goes rogue and steals a demon to use as a weapon and asks Buffy to turn over Andrew, who she wants to kill since he annoyed her. She also led a small but growing army of rogue slayers who set up base on a small island, where Simone beat up an old woman who gave them food and shelter. Simone's gang would later commit acts of terrorism, including raiding a military base and killing their general, relishing in the fearsome reputation it gave the slayers. Later Simone learned of the zompires, and plotted to find a way to become one and keep her mind intact, for the sole sake of killing Buffy, with which she has become obsessed. To experiment, she feeds her own followers to them. When she learns Buffy's sister Dawn is dying, she manipulates their friend Xander with a chance to save her by finding the deeper well. Her true intention was to awaken the Old One, Maloker, so that he would sire her into a vampire.
  • 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.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Spike is a standout example. He's one of the worst vampires in recorded history, second only to Angelus, with three 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!
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Spike. It's clear that he was a major character from the get go (but originally just for Season 2), and the writers always liked the character, but it seems like nobody quite expected just how much everyone was going to love him. Many, many Buffy fans consider him the best character in the show, to the point where despite the weirdness of his relationship with Buffy in Season 6 there are still a vast number of Spike/Buffy shippers about.
    • Anya was only going to be a villain in "The Wish" and "Doppelgangland", but test audiences liked her and she stuck around, becoming a main cast member in 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 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.
    • Faith was originally supposed to be there for five episodes but managed to be such a fan favorite that she lasted right until the end. She would have even gotten her own show if Eliza Dushku hadn't declined in order to work on Tru Calling.
    • Despite not having many lines (for obvious reasons) and having the second-fewest appearances for a main character (second only to Riley), Oz is one of the more popular characters.
    • Jonathan in the early seasons when he was the go-to victim at Sunnydale High for anything non-lethal. After this, 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." However, the writers grew fond of him and kept him around. When Joss added Wesley to the main cast of 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.
    • The vampire Kralik, from "Helpless", is considered one of the scariest villains despite only appearing in the one episode. This is due to Jeff Kober's eerie performance and the fact that Kralik attacked Buffy when, as part of her Cruciamentum, she had been temporarily suspended of her powers.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Willow/Oz. Or Tara. Or anyone but Kennedy.
    • Buffy/Angel and Buffy/Spike battle for prominence among the fandom, generally depending on which season(s) the particular fan prefers. Some fans Take a Third Option and pair them in a three-way relationship, or bring Faith in and make it a foursome. (Please don't ask Buffy about this, it only descends to oil wrestling and bondage nurse fantasies.)
      • Buffy/Spike (Spuffy) seem to have the majority of fan support.
    • Buffy's pretty much the Launcherof A Thousand Ships. Buffy/Xander, Buffy/Faith, Buffy/Willow. The list goes on.
    • 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.
  • Fetish Retardant: Vamp!Willow, who not only looks like an old hag is utterly psycho. Faith, when she goes bad it overshadows anything that was appealing to her, though in this case it's deliberate.
  • 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.
  • 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, and most famously 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: An exchange between Buffy and her mom is this trope's namer. In Season 3, Cordelia comments that Giles gets so much head trauma that one day, he'll wake up in a coma. Funny, sure. But let me tell you about this episode of Angel, involving Cordelia by the name of "You're Welcome"...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 bisexual..
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Ho Yay: Buffy and Faith, Drusilla and Kendra, Vamp Xander and Angel, Glory and Dawn, Xander and Spike so ''so'' much.
    • Les Yay: Willow and Tara, before their relationship became explicitly romantic. According to Alyson, Joss worked very carefully to create the right subtext in their scenes together. Creators have also acknowledged lesbian subtext between Buffy and Faith and say in the commentary that it was fun to play with.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • Conversations with Dead People. All of it.
    • 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.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Spike in Season 2 and the very end of Season 4, though Ethan Rayne had a moment or two as well. Caleb, though a Complete Monster, qualifies by virtue of being played by Nathan Fillion.
    • The Master was a pretty cunning villain and he certainly had the Deadpan Snarker vibe down to a tee.
    • 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"...
    • "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:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • Scapegoat Creator: Marti Noxon.
  • The Scrappy: Kennedy, Riley and Dawn (see Creator's Pet).
    • Willow was a Scrappy Generator. Oz started out as a scrappy because he wasn't Xander. Tara started out as a scrappy because she wasn't Oz. Kennedy was a scrappy because she wasn't Tara.
    • 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.
      • Faith telling Kennedy to back the hell off and let her do her job in "Touched."
  • 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.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: People watching it for the first time today (possibly after seeing other shows by Joss Whedon) might not appreciate all that the show has done for TV... it has earned its Kilowick status.
  • Sequel Displacement: Not many people know of the film.
  • She Really Can Act: Sarah Michelle Gellar received some particular praise at some points, high points 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?"
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Values Dissonance: A big one in regards to Willow hunting down and executing Warren Meers. 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 the series who is not a woobie. We'll wait.

The tie-in 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.
  • Genius Bonus. 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.
  • Good Bad Bugs: When certain enemies are killing Buffy it's easy to go to the inventory and heal.
  • 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.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Fill up the combo bar and the main theme will sound signalling your accomplishment.
  • 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.