The Scoobie girls fall for Dawn's classmate RJ, thanks to his magical letterman jacket.
- Age-Inappropriate Dress: Buffy dresses in a plaid skirt to make herself look younger when molesting RJ.
- All Guys Want Cheerleaders / All Men Are Perverts:
Buffy: You shredded my outfit.
- RJ's friend hears about the cheerleader tryouts and asks if the girls are going to be jumping up and down a lot.
- And later:
Dawn: I'll buy you a new one.
Buffy: That's not the point. I don't want a new cheerleading outfit.
Xander: Now, now, let's not be hasty
- Always Second Best: Dawn tries to kill herself in the belief that she can't compete with Buffy."You're older and hotter and have sex that's rough and kill people. I don't have any of that stuff!"
- An Axe to Grind: Buffy vs. the demon that D'Hoffryn sent to kill Anya.
- Bare Your Midriff / Painted-On Pants: Dawn, the Pushy Queen of Slut Town.
- Blatant Lies: Anya claiming she wrote an epic poem for RJ, when actually she robbed several banks to get him money.
- Brain Bleach: Both Xander and Willow need some when they realize Dawn is the one dancing with RJ.
- Buffy Speak:
- Soul-having. Rant Girl. No more with the talky.
- Xander re Spike: "Crazy-Basement-Guy is better than Stalking-Buffy-Guy."
- Breather Episode: Sandwiched right between Anya's day in the limelight and a cast-wide drama bomb.
- Call-Back / History Repeats
- Dawn asks Buffy if she loves Spike, just as Tara did in "Dead Things". This time Buffy is able to answer the question — no, but she does have feelings for him (the same answer she gave Spike in "Seeing Red").
- Dawn fears she can't compete with her cooler, more assertive, and sexually-experienced sister, just as a teenaged Buffy once worried about losing Angel to girls like Cordelia or Faith.
- Xander walking in on Buffy straddling RJ is like when he came across the Buffybot straddling Spike in "Intervention".
- Spike turning the angel statuettes so they couldn't face him, like Drusilla bandaging the eyes of her dolls.
- Spike moving in with Xander, and Lance living in his mother's basement and working dead-end jobs, is a call back to Xander in Season 4.
- Willow trying to sort out a relationship problem by immediately resorting to magic.
- Cat Fight: Dawn and Lori (RJ's girlfriend) get into a hair-pulling contest outside the Bronze.
- Chekhov's Bazooka: The rocket launcher Buffy used to dust The Judge in "Innocence" is used again to try and kill Wood.
- Also the cheerleader outfit that Buffy last wore in Season One ("The Witch").
- Chick Magnet: RJ, due to the effects of his magic jacket, is one unintentionally.
- Closet Sublet: Spike ignominiously moves into a 'spare room' in Xander's apartment."I know it looks like a closet but it's a room now."
- Coincidental Broadcast: Quickly turned off by Anya when the radio starts talking about the masked gunman who held up a number of businesses—
- Continuity Nod:
- Buffy follows up on her insistence that Spike move out of the Sunnydale High basement, making him room with a reluctant Xander.
- Buffy is startled when Spike touches her unexpectedly — his attempted rape still leaves its scars.
- Buffy's poor driving skills in her mother's SUV, as seen in "Band Candy".
- Buffy insisting everyone but her is affected by the spell, as she did in "Something Blue".
- Dawn brings up Buffy's taste for rough sex — according to a deleted line on the shooting script, she found this out from Anya who would have got the information during her drinking session with Spike in "Entropy".
- Spike glaring at Lance when he puts down poetry is a reference to Spike's human past as a (bad) poet, shown in "Fool For Love".
- Xander identifying the effects of a love spell is due to his experiences in "Something Blue" and "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" — the latter also showed how the spell can affect a person's sense of right and wrong, with the affected girls all trying to murder Xander as shown in the flashback.
- And oddly enough, given all of those, the ending of "Selfless" is immediately forgotten. Anya is now a full time member of the Scoobies again after ending the last episode going off to find herself, and D'Hoffryn is sending demons to kill her when he was previously content to wait for her to be killed by someone else.
- Anya only joined the Scoobies after they discovered the love spell (she wasn't with them at the Bronze). She was probably only called to help, as she has the greatest knowledge of magic theory.
- Department of Redundancy Department:Willow: Damn love spell. I have tried every anti-love spell spell I could find.
Anya: Even if you find the right one, the guy would probably just do an anti-anti-love spell spell spell. (Willow looks confused)
- Did They or Didn't They?: Fandom is actually somewhat divided over whether Buffy actually slept with RJ or was merely seconds away from it when Xander found them. The chief argument that they did not is that it's hard to believe the series would let Buffy actually seduce a minor, while the argument that they did suggests that when you combine the amount of time Buffy was left alone with RJ, the fact that her clothes are nearly off (and he seems to be doing up his fly) and that she refers to RJ as "her lover" (albeit she's Brainwashed and Crazy at this point), it's not impossible to believe Xander interrupted them in the middle of the act, rather than just before they began. The novelization of the season openly depicts them having sex.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Dawn slides along the bleachers to keep RJ in sight until she falls off the end.
- Enemy Mine: Spike and Xander are forced to work together to stop the girls of the group from doing something crazy under the influence.
- Face-Revealing Turn: Played for Laughs.(RJ is dirty dancing with a beautiful scantily-dressed girl, seen only from the back)
Willow: (ogling the girl) Check out his fan club.
Xander: (ogling likewise) Ooo, daddy like.
Buffy: (rolls her eyes) What is that shirt made of? Paint?
Willow: (dawning realization) Buffy
Buffy: Glad Dawnie isn't here to see her precious boyfriend getting all thrusty with some slut-bag hussy—
(the girl turns around, and everybody's jaws drop when they see that she is Dawn)
Xander: (horrified) Oh oh no! Daddy no I wasn't when I was lookin' I wasn't oh God!
Willow: (ashamed) Right there with ya.
- Felony Misdemeanor: Xander says that as Spike has a soul, shouldn't he be picking up his wet towels? Willow suggest that maybe it means he feels bad about not picking them up.
- Foreshadowing: Anya discusses the feelings a gay Willow has for RJ.Anya: His physical form has a penis!Willow: I can work around that!
- Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That: After saying Spike is OK now he's got a soul, Buffy jumps when he touches her unexpectedly.
- Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi: Sure, the episode seems like a nice breather episode after the last episode where Buffy might have to kill Anya and the next one where the First begins to put his plan into motion
until you realize that RJ is essentially using his magic jacket to manipulate the feelings of other woman against their will. What also increases the Squick factor is that if Xander hadn't stopped Buffy when she did she would have had sex with him which means Buffy has almost been raped twice in less then six months.
- In fairness to RJ and Lance, they seem unaware of the jacket's magical power (especially seeing how RJ made no significant effort to get the jacket back after it had been stolen by Xander and Spike), though their father apparently does as he insisted they wear it.
- Driven to Suicide: Dawn lies across the railway tracks so that the train will run over her, in order to prove her "love" for RJ, and is only saved at the last minute by her sister.
- Eating the Eye Candy: Xander and Willow checking out Dawn, before they realise who she is.
- Flashback Cut: "People forget how dangerous love spells can be." Xander immediately flashes back to a scene from "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" with a mob of girls trying to murder him and Cordelia.Xander: (smiling) Good times
- Funny Background Event: Buffy trying to kill Wood with a rocket launcher, and Spike stopping her, is turned into a Funny Moment due to taking place entirely in the background while Wood remains oblivious.
- Gender Bender: Willow's solution to RJ is to turn him into a girl, thus eliminating her competition so she can him...err, her all to herself. It's the less extreme of the bids for his attention.
- Girl Watching
- Hand Gagging: Xander to Willow just as she's about to complete her spell.
- Hot for Teacher:RJ: (after Buffy's "Shut Up" Kiss) You're like a teacher.
Buffy: Not really. (sweetly) But, I mean, does it bother you?
RJ: (smiling) Not so much.
- I Believe That You Believe It: Buffy trying to convince Dawn that her crush on RJ isn't real.
- Incest Is Relative: Willow and Xander ogling a girl, who turns out to be their surrogate little sister Dawn.
- Insane Troll Logic: Plenty of this as each love-struck Scooby tries to explain why their love is the real deal.
- Interrupted Intimacy: Xander walks in on a half-(un)dressed Buffy making out with RJ on a school desk.
- Kill It with Fire: The letterman jacket is burned at the end of the episode.
- Kissing Under the Influence: Buffy makes out with RJ while under the jacket's influence.
- Klingon Promotion: Downplayed Trope, Dawn pushes the new quarterback down a flight of stairs so that RJ can have the position
- Lampshaded Double Entendre: Buffy tells RJ that she's pretty much the same age as him, "but with the sexual experience and stuff."RJ: I think I hear what you're saying.
- Laugh of Love: Dawn and RJ are laughing while dirty-dancing together at a party. Buffy also giggles when she first falls under the spell.
- Leitmotif: "Theme From A Summer Place" by Percy Faith is heard every time someone falls in love with RJ.
- Love Makes You Dumb: At the end Dawn is moaning how stupid she acted over a love spell. Buffy tells her to prepare to feel even stupider when it's the real thing.
- Love Makes You Evil: When another jock gets RJ's position on the football team, Dawn pushes him down the stairs.
- Love Spell: The jacket has one on it.
- Manipulative Bitch: Buffy tells Dawn that RJ likes her, but thought she was coming on too strong. Buffy then swoops in on RJ while little sis is taking it slow.
- Mr. Fanservice: In universe example: RJ, while played by the quite attractive Thad Luckinbill, (unknowingly) relies on his jacket to woo girls.
- Mating Dance: Dawn in her very tight jeans and painted-on blouse wildly gyrating with RJ on the Bronze dance floor.
- Meaningful Echo: When Willow and Anya fall in love with RJ too, they start mimicking the words of the Dawn/Buffy spat.
- Mood Whiplash: Buffy is Twerp Sweating RJ when he slips into his jacket — suddenly it's The Return of Puppy-Dog Eyes!
- Mundane Solution: Xander and Spike's "plan" consists of them running up to RJ, ripping off his letterman jacket and fleeing with it.
- Never Say That Again: Dawn is crying after seeing RJ making out with her sister:Xander: Dawn? What's wrong? Is this Did that guy in the jacket—
Dawn: I don't even want to hear his name anymore!
Xander: I just called him "that guy in the jacket".
Dawn: That's what I used to call him in my head before I knew his real name!
- Non-Answer:Dawn: Last night, you said you weren't helping Spike out of pity. What is it [if not that]?
Buffy: It's a good question. (sips her drink through a straw)
Dawn: Is sitting there drinking soda some kind of a Zen non-answer?
- Oblivious Mockery: Spike gives Lance a dirty look when he starts ragging RJ's poetry-writing.
- Quizzical Tilt: Anya and Willow seeing RJ in the jacket.
- Sexy Man, Instant Harem
- Songs of Solace: After her cheerleader tryout disaster Dawn lies on her bed listening to "School Blood" by King Black Acid.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Light music plays on a CD in Wood's office as Buffy tries to murder him in the background.
- Split Screen: Used to show what the female Scoobies are doing to prove their love — as cheezy action movie music plays Willow is casting a spell, Buffy drives up to the school and climbs out holding a rocket launcher, Anya is shown pulling a ski mask over her head outside a bank, and Dawn lies across the railroad tracks.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial:
Xander: I refuse to answer that on the grounds that it didn't fit.
- Xander: "Something about the big letter on the chest - makes girls get swoony and crushy. I saw it all the time in school. And you couldn't just pin any old felt letter to your coat and get play. Not that I tried."
- Anya: "It was a spell. We're not responsible for anything we did morally or, you know, legally "
- Buffy asks Xander if he thought of trying on the jacket.
- Relative Button: Dawn trying to kill herself shocks Buffy out of the effects of the spell. Mostly.
- Riddle for the Ages: Where did RJ's father get the magic jacket?Anya: Man, this tool gets his jacket from his brother, who got it from their father, and we'll never know where he got it. That bites.
- Rule of Three:
- Xander walking in on Buffy's make-out session has happened twice before in the series (in "Intervention" with the Buffybot, and "Gone" with Spike bonking an invisible Buffy).
- This is the third time Buffy is hit with a love spell and the first time she's ever admitted it.
- Running Gag: Buffy insisting she's just slightly older than RJ.
- Sanity Strengthening: Barring one episode in the car, Spike has largely returned to his former self and stopped "talking to invisible people."
- She's All Grown Up: See Face-Revealing Turn.
- Sick and Wrong: Xander lasciviously eyes a gyrating nymphet on the dance floor ("Daddy like!"), only for her to turn around and reveal herself as Dawn. Cue facepalm.
- It wasn't just Xander: Willow has a much more subdued disgust for ogling: "Right there with ya."
- Slow Motion: RJ whenever a girl falls for him.
- Tantrum Throwing: Dawn shredding the cheerleader outfit after her disastrous tryout.
- That Came Out Wrong:
"Now go to your closet." [flees the room]
- Spike says he doesn't want Buffy's molly-coddling. She assures him it's not coddling, and winces at the Double Entendre.
- After the cheerleading disaster, Dawn moans that RJ will never notice her now. Buffy assures him that he did, what with the falling down and all. Dawn squeals in horror and slams the door.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!:Lori: I'll never let you have him, bitch. RJ is mine. I mean it! Stay away from him!
Buffy: (to Dawn) Well, at least someone agrees you shouldn't be dating this guy.
- The Triple:Buffy: (to Slut!Dawn) Where do I start with the bad? First, you told me you were going to the library. Second, you do not go out on a date without informing me first. Third, Anna Nicole Smith thinks you look tacky.
- Variable Terminal Velocity: Occurs during the train rescue scene.
- Verbal Backspace:Buffy: You've been out of the basement for half an hour, and you've already stopped talking to invisible people.
Buffy: OK, so there was that one episode in the car
- What the Hell, Hero?: Dawn is incredulous that Buffy is telling her off for being irresponsible in her relationships:"You know what? Maybe I don't want advice from the Dysfunction Queen."
- You're Just Jealous: Naturally. To be precise, Dawn says this to Buffy, accusing her of not being able to handle that she doesn't have all of the attention for once.