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     The 1992 Film 
  • Accidental Innuendo: "I was just saving your butt!... Well, there was an exchange of butts..."
  • Adaptation Displacement: The film has faded into almost complete obscurity and is today remembered pretty much only for being adapted into the series (although it does have a bit of a cult following). Some fans of the series probably weren't even aware that a movie was made. Whedon considers his script — not the film that was actually made — to be canon, making this one of the few intentional examples of this trope.
  • Complete Monster: Lothos is an ancient vampire, famous and feared for killing numerous Slayers over the centuries. Arriving in Los Angeles, Lothos starts a new killing spree to track down Buffy and take over the city, having his follower Amilyn turn numerous people into his vampiric army for him and bring him new victims to feed on, even turning one of Buffy's friends to find her and killing another. During his first confrontation with Buffy, Lothos kills her watcher Merrick by turning his stake onto him, letting Buffy go at the time as he was expecting more of a challenge. Later, Lothos leads his minions on an attack at the school, killing several students. Lothos is completely indifferent towards his followers and their deaths, as seen when he refuses to save Amylin when Buffy stakes him, giving him an unsympathetic smile as he mockingly plays a fiddle. After Lothos fails to hypnotize and/or seduce Buffy, he stops his flirtatious advancements in favor of going in for the kill, putting his sadistic personality on full display as he notes to the rest of the students that he will kill them all himself once he's done with Buffy.
  • Cult Classic: While the TV series is much more fondly remembered by fans (to the point that some didn't even know there was a film at first), many who have seen the film like it as a rough draft to what would come later, or just for what it is; a silly little action-horror comedy. Having some of that early 90s cheese doesn't hurt either.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Amilyn, mostly for his death scene and for being played by Paul Reubens.
    • Nicki has her fans for being somewhat smarter and more loyal than Buffy's other friends, and contributing just a bit to the final battle. Borders on They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character, given how she's last seen being dragged out a window by a vampire while her less likable friends make it out unscratched. Some fans like to think she either did make it out alive or at least was turned and got revenge on her friends for letting her get taken.
  • Ham and Cheese: Paul Reubens camping it up royally as a vampire.
  • He's Just Hiding!: As mentioned above, many fans like to think Nicki survived the climax.
  • 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.
    • There was a Porn Parody of the movie called "Buffy the Vampire Layer". Suffice to say, Buffy ends up living up to that name in the show. Twice.
  • Ho Yay: The scene where Amilyn watches over Lothos as he sleeps and kisses his hand makes you wonder...
  • Iron Woobie: Buffy, due to the Bittersweet Ending.
  • 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 decent horror/superhero origin film with some great bits of comedy and character development.
  • Tear Jerker: Merrick dying in Buffy's arms.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: As campy and silly as the movie is, Kristy Swanson puts in a sincere effort, while Rutger Hauer manages to make Lothos menacing.
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     The Series (Tropes A - G) 
  • Abandon Shipping: Many abandoned the Spike/Buffy ship after the infamous attempted rape in season six.
  • Acceptable Religious Targets: One time, a group of religious (as against spellcasting) group of Neopagans Willow meets in college are portrayed as idiots who have no idea what they're talking about. Willow and Tara, who simply alter the fabric of reality with no religious connotations at all, are portrayed as far wiser. This type is known as the College Pagan, the Fluffy Bunny, or the Shirley MacLeaner among the pagan community. Also, Willow did invoke various gods and goddesses, so there were definitely religious connotations with her spellcasting. This becomes a Brick Joke when, in the last season, Willow visits them again, and it turns out that they actually have become a real spell casting group; oddly enough, they still do the weekly bake sale.
  • 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:
    • 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.
    • "Sariza". Given the amount of pure tension (and some Unresolved Sexual Tension too) the characters have to each other it's no wonder. Doesn't help that Eliza Dushku admits to liking Buffy/Faith. Ohh, let's not forget those suspicious videos and Sarah jumping on Eliza on set "just to lighten up the mood".
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Even for those who don't like Kendra, it was a shame to see her taken out by Drusilla so easily in "Becoming Part 1". 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 "Normal Again".
    • 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 season seven, is she a hero struggling to be a leader and make hard decisions, adopts a Cruel to Be Kind attitude and gets stabbed in the back by her loved ones? Or an arrogant, domineering, bitchy idiot who was rightfully deposed?
    • Just how stupid is Buffy and how much of her "stupidity" is fake?
    • Was Buffy's season 6 relationship with Spike his taking advantage of her post-heaven depression and manipulating her away from her friends for his own selfish desires, her taking advantage of his helpless romanticism to get a punching bag and sex toy, both at once, or a genuine loving relationship? Fanfic has supported all of these. Everything about them is subject to Alternate Character Interpretation. When did she fall in love with him? Did she fall in love with him? Why did he tell her she didn't? Did he want his soul back to be good enough for her, to say "sorry," or because he wanted to sleep with her again? And let's not go into what he was thinking during the Attempted Rape...
    • Pre-souled Spike: a sensitive romantic too shy to admit to his true feelings, suffering years of cruel physical and mental abuse from Buffy? Or an evil, selfish, violent vampire consumed with a psychopathic obsession for Buffy, who should have staked him years ago? James Marsters has said that he played Spike as being attracted to Buffy from the beginning.
    • Willow Rosenberg, card carrying lesbian or in the bi closet?
    • Kennedy. Is she really The Scrappy or does she get a pass because of her age? Is she really a Jerkass or more Jerkass Has a Point? Is she really a Satellite Love Interest or does she have Hidden Depths?
    • 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.
    • Sequel comics aside, in the show itself was Amy putting Willow in a different party a ruthless plan, a somewhat sadistic prank signifying her break from Willow, or (given statements by the actress about the direction she’d hoped to take the character) a misguided, one-time thing meant to try and give Willow context for some of what Amy had gone through.
  • 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.
  • Angel/Devil Shipping: Whistler is a half-demon who appeared in "Becoming Part 1". In the season 9 comics, he reveals that his parents were one of the Powers That Be (the closest beings the Buffyverse has to angels) and a pure-blooded demon. This is compared to (as in being a lot more taboo than) the Slayer/Vampire pairings (Buffy/Angel and Buffy/Spike).
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • In "The Harvest", 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. Jesse is never mentioned again. Worse, this was their first exposure to the fact that vampires are real. The situation might have been different if the development plans for Jesse had come through, since a proposed line was for him to become a recurring, unapologetic vampire opponent (like vamp!Xander and vamp!Willow in the Wishverse).
    • An In-Universe example occurs in "Forever"; Dawn accuses Buffy of having this reaction to their mother's death, since Buffy hasn't even cried and is just running treating the whole thing like some kind of chore. In reality, Buffy has been bottling up her emotions to deal with her grief and trying to stay strong for Dawn's sake.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Played with in "Buffy vs. 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 8.
  • Anvilicious:
    • "Beer Bad", in which a group of college students and Buffy are turned into Neanderthal-like cave people by spiked beer. Ironically, the episode was intended to have a clear moral, as the writers participated in a competition to write a storyline that (realistically) brought up the dangers of drinking... and were disqualified, because every complication is caused by supernatural influences rather than the beer itself. It at least had the decency to hang an amusing lampshade on that aspect of the episode:
      Xander: And was there a lesson in all of this? What have we learned about beer?
      Buffy: Foamy!
      Xander: Good. Just so that's clear.
    • The drugs/magic episode, "Wrecked", is probably the most blatant metaphor in the whole show.
    • While pants-soilingly disturbing, the most heavy-handed part of "Gingerbread" (about prejudice) was when Cordelia fire hosed down the brainwashed parents.
    • Buffy's speech in "Chosen" is quite anvilicious about female empowerment - attributing the entire Slayer line to "a bunch of men", and then following it by saying of Willow "this woman is more powerful than all those men". Season 7 overall really hammered home the feminism to a degree not quite seen on the show before.
  • Arc Fatigue:
    • Season Six. Every plotline and character arc seemed stretched out without any developments or changes. It took Buffy the whole season (21 episodes) to get over being dead and resurrected. The last time she died and was brought back to life (in season one) it took one episode of angst before she was back on her feet. (In all fairness, though, the first time she merely flat lined and was revived. The second time she was yanked out of Heaven against her will and brought back to Earth and forced to claw her way out of her own grave, after being buried alive had been established as her biggest fear.)
    • Season Seven with the First Evil storyline suffered in a similar way, mainly because the First Evil itself barely did anything productive or meaningful throughout the entire arc. It also didn't help that, unlike the previous seasons, nearly every episode of the season was spent preparing for the threat (whereas the previous episodes would give the occasional light-hearted Monster of the Week episode).
    • Even Season Five suffered from this. The Glory arc was slow and plodding with whole episodes going along without anything progressing in the plot. Glory isn't introduced until the fifth episode, is forgotten about for another three episodes and if you cut out all the filler from that season you have about twelve episodes where the plot progresses normally. The penultimate episode of the season was just complete filler because they needed to wait another episode until the finale.
  • Archive Panic: At two episodes a week, it would take a year and a half to finish all of the series. On the other hand, 144 episodes at around 45 minutes per episode only makes for 105 hours of continuous viewing. Allowing time to sleep, you could still watch the whole show in less than a week, if only barely. If all you did for one week was watch the series and sleep, you would have about 63 hours total to sleep, which comes out to 15 hours of television a day. And if you try to watch everything from the Buffyverse, Angel adds in another 110 episodes. There's also the original movie, and Joss Whedon's original script which was quite different, and the unaired pilot, and the 100+ comics which are considered "canon". There are also dozens of non-canon comics and over 70 non-canon novels.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • "Lessons" retcons Willow's magic addiction arc. Joss Whedon himself (not to mention Alyson Hannigan) disliked this development, so he included a scene where Giles explicitly tells Willow that magic in itself is not addictive, and it's explained that Willow's actions were actually due to her not using magic.
    • The writers realised that Buffy's inspirational speeches in season seven were becoming annoying for some fans, and so they began to make fun of her pep talks. In "Storyteller", Andrew indicates that he felt they were dull, and once Buffy started she'd only stop when she had to go to work. He also made fun of them saying Willow had a high threshold for speech-making, but even she looked bored. In "Lies My Parents Told Me", Buffy says, "Have you heard my speeches?" and "The other day I gave an inspirational speech to the telephone repair man", showing again that the writers could parody themselves.
    • Season 10, where the Spuffy pairing is concerned. It does its best to properly discuss the fallout of their season 6 Destructive Romance—addressing Buffy's Heroic BSoD from the bathroom attack and Spike's crippling self-esteem issues from being used, both of which were only slightly touched upon in season 7.
  • Award Snub: Many think Sarah Michelle Gellar was legitimately deserving of awards for her work in "The Body".
    • The show in general is infamous for a series of Emmy snubs; it won two technical awards in the early years, but in its entire run only earned the sum total of one nomination for the majors (Whedon, for Best Writing for "Hush"). In one infamous instance, "Once More, With Feeling" was nominated for Outstanding Music Direction, but due to a typo was left off the ballot form. Several writers considered it somewhat indicative of the Academy's attitude towards the show.
  • Badass Decay: Spike began the series as a straight villain who was set up to be killed off. Prior to this, he did things like kill the Annointed One, lead three powerful demon bounty hunters, and (once it was decided not to kill him off) betray Angelus behind his back and help save the world for his own selfish benefit. As the character became popular and got strung along throughout the rest of the show's run, he gradually became more and more sympathetic and cuddly. The change was so infamous that this trope was once called Spikeification. Despite his decay, the character would occasionally receive a few awesome moments to keep him interesting, and he wound up becoming somewhat badass again on Angel. The decay probably began around the season three episode when he stumbles back to town a heartbroken drunk after Drusilla broke up with him for not being evil enough. Thankfully, by the end of the episode, he realizes that all he needs to do to win her back is go back to being the person he was, i.e. a complete badass with a healthy dose of sociopathy.
    • The decay hit the ground running in season 4 when he is captured by the Initiative (a government paramilitary group studying demons) and has a chip installed in his head that prevents him from hurting humans. With the ability to cause harm removed, he is forced to become Angel-like: drinking blood obtained from butchers or blood banks, helping the Scoobies because he is so raring for a fight that he chose to attack other demons, and generally becoming angsty about his inabilities. However, it is when he falls in love with Buffy that he dives face-first into the realm of decayed.
    • This decay is sort of justified out-of-universe, because to keep Spike on the show past his time as a villain, he would have to be rendered a non-threat, so the audience wouldn't be wondering why Buffy didn't just stake him. If Spike were still unchipped and competent, Buffy's failure to stake him would be outright negligence as a Slayer. Beyond that, the fact that he was now on the good side (more or less) meant he doesn't particularly need to be intimidating anymore and his unique perspective could be used for comic relief and drama.
    • The Turok-Han. When it was first introduced, the "ubervamp" was so powerful that it just couldn't be stopped by any member of the Scooby gang and it almost killed Buffy. Twice. On the third try, Buffy kills while giving a speech to all the Potentials and the Scoobies and Andrew, but just barely. In the season finale, after Willow turns all Potentials into Slayers, you can see a whole army of ubervamps go down like flies, as Buffy's army kill them as if they weren't stronger than regular vampires. And it's not only the power of a slayer; Robin and Giles and even Anya are seen killing a few of them!
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Xander is quite possibly the biggest example of this in recent years; he is 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. There's also some debate as to whether his preoccupation with sex is just a normal teenage straight guy's disposition or a creepy lecherous qualitynote .
    • Buffy herself 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.
    • Faith. Does she use all her misfortune as an 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 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?
    • 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 is 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 7, 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.
    • Molly the Potential doesn't attract the bile that the likes of Kennedy and Rona. But she isn't as well-liked as Amanda or Vi, putting her somewhere in the middle.
    • Glory when it comes to her status as a Big Bad. Some love her and find Clare Kramer's ditziness endearing and entertaining. Some find her a tiresome villain who is too powerful to be interesting. Others liked her at first but feel that her storyline suffered Arc Fatigue.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: Not the series itself, but some individual episodes experience this.
    • "Go Fish" is remembered for the scene where Xander - going undercover on the swim team to investigate - walks out in a speedo. The Fanservicey shot of him in the speedo is used in the opening credits for the next two seasons.
    • "Doppelgangland"'s most famous scenes are Vampire!Willow hitting on regular Willow, with seductive neck lick - and Willow in the Spy Catsuit remarking "gosh look at those" re: her pushed up boobs.
    • "Dead Things " is infamous for the implied scene of Spike giving Buffy anal while at the Bronze.
    • "Smashed" is remembered for the scene of Spike and Buffy having sex inside a house that's falling down. It lasts just a minute and they're fully clothed for it by the way.
    • Deliberately averted with "The Body", which features Tara and Willow's first on-screen kiss. Joss chose to place it in the middle of a scene where they're mourning Joyce's death to prevent it from being used in a Girl-on-Girl Is Hot sort of way.
  • Better on DVD: Especially seasons 3, 4, and 5, when there were meaningful arcs. Season 5 lets you see that every single episode, no matter how much it seemed like filler at first, leads toward something important in the big Season Finale. The season sets available in retail stores in America have 'previously' for only one episode, "When She Was Bad".
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • After the opening theme rolls in "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:
    • "Once More With Feeling" is a bizarre case of a bizarro episode that is based on an utterly ridiculous premise, is important to the season's major story arcs and remains one of the most loved episodes of the entire series, like a Bizarro Episode and Wham Episode mixed together.
    • "Restless", starts like this. Eventually what's going on is clarified, as well as the fact that it contains large amounts of foreshadowing.
    • "Superstar". Jonathan, a recurring Butt-Monkey who'd been the butt of jokes for the past four seasons, rewrites reality to make himself a Black Hole Sue who even takes over the opening credits.
    • "The Zeppo" can be seen as this, diverting from the building plot threads of that season to tell a completely zany, full-out self-parody of every Buffy trope in the book.
    • "Normal Again", aka the episode that implies that the series may or may not be the hallucinations of a mental patient.
    • All of these just go to show that Tropes Are Not Bad in the hands of a skilled writer.
  • 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?
    • "Becoming, Part 2": 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?
    • Spike becoming a Breakout Character to such a degree that some fans thought he was practically the main character by the end of the series. Was this a good thing (thanks to the compelling writing for him and James Marsters' magnetic performance), a bad thing (because of how much the other characters suffered in comparative screentime), or somewhere in between?
    • There's Buffy's planned fate for Faith in "Graduation Day" - feeding her to Angel so her blood can cure the poison. Half the base finds this as Buffy going too far and becoming just as twisted as Faith, while the other half feels this a perfect karmic punishment for her. Whatever the opinion, Buffy doesn't get the chance and ends up using her own blood to cure Angel.
    • When did Spike move from villain to Anti-Hero? It can be argued to be anytime from when he realized he could kill demons (even with his chip) in "Doomed" to as late as when his soul was restored in "Grave".
    • Was Season 5 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 "grow up" in Season 7, or she is still her same annoying self?
    • Willow's relationship with Tara. Groundbreaking for its time and/or poorly written, poorly acted and too abrupt?
    • 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 it's a little disrespectful to insinuate that these women don't exist or that lesbians are less valid if they don't have a perfect gold star.
      • The Willow-is-gay camp also bring up the issue of self-identification and how if someone says they're gay they should have the last word on that, to which the Willow-is-bi camp often reply that as Willow is fictional and not a real person, her 'self-identification' is in fact just a reflection of the writers. And of course, the writers were living in very biphobic times (not that long ago, it wasn't uncommon for people to think that bisexuality didn't really exist).
    • Good luck trying to leave unscathed if you happen to bring up the infamous mutiny at the end of "Empty Places".
    • In "Selfless" who was in the right: Buffy or Xander? The show doesn't take either person's side but that doesn't stop fans from trying.
    • Was Andrew the right choice for Season 7's redemption arc, or should it have gone to Jonathan instead? Andrew certainly needed the redemption more, but Jonathan was an established, sympathetic character fans already knew and liked; many still feel that he should have been the one to join the Scoobies instead. On the other hand, Andrew won a lot of people over, many of whom feel that the story wouldn't have worked nearly as well had the characters' roles been switched.
    • Souls and how exactly they work with ensouled vampires. The convoluted lore has given rise to tons different interpretations; from it being the same consciousness/person with the added ability for morality and remorse, to ensouled vampires being the midpoint of the original soul and the demon, to the soul and the demon being complete split-personalities to each other. Just about every fan has their own take on it, and even the comics attempts to clarify this haven't completely eliminated the discussion.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: Retroactively, Angel being a vampire has become this. Partially through cultural osmosis and partially because the then novel twist of the mysterious broody love interest being secretly supernatural has been repeated endlessly in the supernatural romance genre since the show came out. It even has its own trope page.
  • 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 the alternative uses she's found for a stake.
  • Continuity Lock-Out:
    • The show could be somewhat guilty of this, especially during the fourth season and onwards. The most egregious example comes during "This Year's Girl"/"Who Are You", where Faith re-appears. It's assumed that the viewer knows her history, and despite this being lampshaded by newcomer Riley ("Who's Faith?"), very little explanation is given, and you'd better be watching the spin-off too, 'cos otherwise you won't see the end of this mini-arc or know what to make of Angel's appearance a few episodes later.
    • Interesting is that this trope functions in-universe too. The Scoobies are a very self-contained group with their own in-jokes and insider information that makes getting close to them very difficult and makes miscommunication practically a given.
    • And God help you if you pick up the Season Eight comics after a substantial time away from the show. Why is Dawn a giant? Why does Xander only have one eye? Why is there an army of Slayers running around? How did they become a paramilitary organization?
    • Lampshaded again in a hilarious, fast-paced exchange between Buffy, Giles, and Principal Wood in "Lies My Parents Told Me" while discussing all the things that have happened to Spike.
    • Happens in-universe when Joyce has to learn what it means that her daughter's a slayer.
    • The resolution of "Chosen" also hinges significantly on a plot device that originated on the Angel episode "Home" and only found its way to Buffy via a crossover episode on the other show. Good luck making sense of what was going on if you weren't watching both shows religiously.
  • Crack Pairing: The comics had Xander hook up with Dawn.
    • The comics also have Clem fall in love with Harmony, granted it is one-sided.
    • In-Universe, Spike and Buffy were considered this, even by themselves a lot of the time. "Something Blue" plays heavily on this idea for laughs, and later when Spike's infatuation becomes clear to the group, it's largely met with laughter and confusion. Ironically, the comics see them the subject of a lot of shipping on deck from most of the same people who'd formerly thought the pair was laughable.
  • 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.
    • Riley. Whedon never wanted the vampire romance, so when he got the opportunity to give Buffy a human Love Interest, the writers spent so long making him "not Angel" that they forgot to give Riley any actual personality or chemistry with Buffy. Despite that, many characters constantly mention how he's the nicest guy around and how great of a couple he and Buffy make. This reached its breaking point in Season 5's "Into the Woods", where Buffy finds out Riley is addicted to letting vampires bite him, for which he blames Buffy for liking bad boys and thus emasculating him (even though it actually stems from his own issues about not being able to handle dating a girl stronger than him) and not giving him enough attention, completely forgetting that Buffy wasn't hanging out with anyone so she could take care of her sick mother, who has a brain tumor. After all this, the series wants you to take Riley's side, and Xander rants that Buffy is screwing up her chance at love and guilt-trips her into taking him back. When he returns in "As You Were", none of his faults are brought up again and he leaves Happily Married, this time to a Badass Normal who is, indeed, weaker than him, while even Buffy now believes she should have been with him. As an ameliorating factor, at one of Buffy's lowest points, he unhesitatingly reveals his faith in her and states that she's probably the most amazing person he knows.
  • Creepy Awesome:
    • Spike and Drusilla in Season 2, particularly their first appearance. Even the Order of Aurelius seem a little unsettled by their creepy doting and bloodplay, but it's hard to say that they don't also have a magnetic appeal to them.
    • Vamp!Willow manages to make Alyson Hannigan into Squick, turning Willow into a Depraved Bisexual Dominatrix with an unsettlingly serene disposition. That said, her competence and genuine intimidation factor is very real.
    • Angelus. He'd be easy-going and charismatic if he weren't so incredibly delightfully cruel and evil. When he's Angel he's the regular kind of awesome instead.
    • The Gentlemen may be some of the scariest monsters in the series, which is saying something, but they're so nicely dressed and friendly to each other it's hard not to admire them a little.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • The scene in "Hush" where Buffy attempts to mime staking the Gentlemen and ends up miming another action entirely shocked the network, but they kept it in because it was just so damn funny.
    • Season six piled on so much Deus Angst Machina that it became an in-universe example of crossing the line twice: when Giles (very dramatically) returned at the end of the season, Buffy told him about all the horrible traumatic things that have happened just since he left, never mind everything that happened before. Does he give her a hug? Tell her everything's going to be all right? Help her figure out how to stop the latest The End of the World as We Know It plot? No - he breaks down in uncontrollable laughter. A moment later, Buffy joins him. And so does the audience.
  • 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:
    • This tends to be the reason some fans call Fanon Discontinuity after season five. You had Buffy Wangst throughout the majority of the sixth season, had a mutually destructive and degrading hookup with Spike, and then became a complete Jerkass. It had gotten so bad that Buffy's close circle of friends would rather have Faith, a once Ax-Crazy rogue Slayer, lead the Potentials because she looked saner than Buffy around that point. The Scoobies themselves are no better, if they're not on a Wangst fest then they're doing something that makes them look unlikable to the viewer’s eyes and they are supposed to be the heroes of the series. Whedon has acknowledged this is an issue with season six, as he signed off on a bunch of dark story ideas he liked, without considering that having them all happen at the same time might be a bit much.
    • Season Five introduced the idea that previous Slayers tended to die after a few years because they got weary of constantly fighting and trying to save the world. After reaching this despair horizon, they would start to give less than 100% and would eventually die by letting their guard down. Towards the end of the season, Buffy has a mental breakdown because she also experiences this weariness and realizes that it may end up costing not her own life, but that of her sister. This belief that her not giving 100% may have contributed to Dawn's capture and possible death drives her into a coma. Fast forward a couple of years, and after Buffy is unable to save the life of a doomed teenage girl, she spends nearly the remainder of Season Seven going through the motions and becoming apathetic towards whether anyone around her suffers or dies, even her close friends or sister.
  • Designated Hero:
    • For many fans, Buffy is the DH for much of Seasons Six and Seven. 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 his mother never loved him. And frankly, that's only the worst time by a small degree. The Angel Season Five writers tried to do an Author's Saving Throw for all this, giving Spike more than one episode where he actually has to confront bad he's done, and how self serving he's been even post-soul.
    • We're supposed to think Riley is Buffy's "real shot at love" and everyone treats him like he's the nicest guy ever. Despite the fact that he's a teaching assistant dating one of his students, thinks it's A-OK to torture demons, or "animals" as he calls them (demons are evil, but kill them quickly, don't experiment on them), and whines and complains like a two-year-old when he thinks Buffy isn't giving him enough attention... when she's distracted by her mother being in the hospital due to a brain tumor. His way of dealing with the latter is going to a vampire "whorehouse" (to get off on getting bitten by them), thinks Buffy is entirely to blame for his behavior, and gives her an ultimatum: he's leaving if she doesn't forgive him. What's worse is that, from how it's written, we're supposed to be taking Riley's side, not to mention that Xander calls Buffy out on letting Riley go and Buffy is led to believe that she was in the wrong. Sickening doesn't even begin to describe this, and the fact that the writers utterly failed to see the implications (and instead blamed fans for liking the vampires Angel and Spike too much) just makes things worse. Then, when he returns in season 6, he goes around believing his opinion is better than everyone else's, everyone loves him again despite what he did, has married someone below his rank (which is a no-no in the US army) and he makes Buffy (who's suffering from depression, struggling with money and raising a teenager) feel terrible... but she listens to him anyway. It's kind of obvious that the writers wanted to make us think "look what you made Buffy throw away!" but instead made him look like an even bigger jerk than before.
    • Xander can often come across as very hypocritical and judgmental - he wants Angel to be punished and held accountable for crimes he did as Angelus but then in Season 7 objects to Buffy wanting to do the same to Anya, and his only defence is "you don't love her like I do" (not caring about the twelve people she killed). The show never seems to frame his pettier actions as wrong or anything more than 'bad but justified'.
  • Designated Monkey: From her introduction, Faith qualifies. A seemingly cool character who steals Buffy's friends, tries to take over her role as Slayer, and sneaks her food. It turns out Faith's life sucks, which she covers up through sex and partying, in contrast to Buffy's better upbringing. She correctly feels she never fits in, then tries to kill Angel, thinking he was evil. This causes such a rift that Faith is very much on the outside. She then sleeps with Xander, the character who first described himself as a Butt-Monkey, and when Xander tries to help Faith after she accidentally kills someone, it becomes horrifying. During this time, Faith becomes evil; not just evil, but frightening. The writers have her commit one evil act after another to portray her as a vicious, sadistic character, foregoing their original plan to have Faith so distraught over what she'd done that she's Driven to Suicide. That particular storyline didn't get played out until a season later (and Angel) after she wakes up from a coma and discovers she has lost her (evil) father figure, the only person who ever treated her like she was worth something in and of herself.
  • 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 on-screen kisses in the show's final few episodes than Fan-Preferred Couple Willow and Tara do in almost three seasons.
    • Also, poor Riley, who had the misfortune of being introduced right after Angel and Buffy's devastating breakup and right as Spike/Buffy was really taking off.
  • Dork Age:
    • Season 4 is sometimes mentioned as a Dork Age, given the awkward Initiative storyline, the introduction of the widely unpopular Riley as Buffy's rebound love-interest, and above all the episode about a beer that turns people into primitive savages, although at least that episode has the excuse of being a failed grab at government money. On the other hand, this season also produced the Emmy-nominated "Hush" episode.
    • The UPN years are agreed to be a Dork Age by fans:
      • The infamous sixth season is frequently regarded as a Dork Age for the titular heroine, in which her traumatic resurrection from Heaven is explored so realistically that she loses all her (previously characteristic) warmth, passion, sense of humor and interest in the world around her, becoming a pale and often unwatchable imitation of her former self. The supporting cast doesn't get it much better, either: Willow's magic addiction metaphor is simultaneously anvilicious and a lore trainwreck given that it was never portrayed as such in prior episodes, the blatant fridging of Tara, Dawn's constant complaining got really annoying, the dissolution of Xander and Anya's marriage was forced, and Spike reached the depths of his Badass Decay, and the Trio's actions were just... stupid. At least Buffy had an excuse. In the season's favor, it did give fans "Once More with Feeling", widely considered the show's best episode.
      • Season 7, considering the change of Buffy into a full-fledged Knight Templar, Willow's inability to use magic for the better part of the season, Xander, Dawn, Anya and Giles getting virtually no character direction, having a textbook Generic Doomsday Villain as the Big Bad, the arrival of the mostly insufferable Potentials, and Spike's total eclipse of the whole show. Joss Whedon has admitted that everyone working on the show was exhausted by that point, and it shows.
    • Some also see the Season 8 and Season 9 comics as a continuation of the Season 7 Dork Age, as Buffy, while a bit more sane than in Six or Seven, is also more alienated from everyone, and in addition to this, the Slayer army is just irritating.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Spike is a standout example. He's stated to be one of the worst vampires in recorded history, second only to Angelus, with two Slayer kills to his name, but he was so pretty, badass and funny that the fans just ate him up. The fact that he was also the first soulless vampire with any amount of emotional nuance also helped, and made his later Character Development into a good guy go down smoother.
    • 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!
    • Glory might count as well, with her knockout appearance not hurting how being viewed as a charismatic villain who just wants to go home (albeit at the cost of threatening the world) with a little sympathy in a Cry for the Devil way in and out of universe.
  • Ending Aversion: Season 4 made some decisions that weren't very popular, though the general attitude is that season 5 got better again. Joss Whedon then took a year off during season 6 to focus on "Once More, With Feeling" (and Firefly), and while people do remember and celebrate the musical episode even years later, this meant that he handed off writing duties for season 6 to other writers, and it showed. Things got moving again in season 7 when Joss came back full time, and the story intentionally built up to the final battle, but many still found it to be little better due to problems with the characterization of much of the cast. There may be a slight aversion about "not being worth the trouble" because those who have heard about the issues with seasons 6-7 can simply stop at the conclusion of season 5, which wraps up most dangling threads and has a definite and satisfactory, although bittersweet, ending.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Oz, who was spared from being killed in "Passion" for this very reason. 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.
    • Anya. Intended as a one-shot villain, she quickly became a scene-stealer thanks to Emma Caulfield's comedic timing, and was added to the main cast of Season 5.
    • Faith. Originally supposed to last five episodes, she became a fan favorite for being a complex Foil to Buffy and lasted right until the end. She would have even gotten her own show if Eliza Dushku hadn't declined in order to work on other projects.
    • Jenny Calendar, a Cool Teacher with an interesting backstory and a fun dynamic with Giles. She was supposedly meant to die in Season 1, but was kept alive for another season because her character was so popular.
    • 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 "Conversations With Dead People".
    • The Gentlemen only appeared in one episode, but their creepy designs and bone-chilling acting performances (including beloved future cult icon Doug Jones) made them some of the scariest and most memorable monsters in the show's history.
    • 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 Ho Yay between them. It also might have something to do with the fact that any time Ethan shows up, wacky chaos abounds.
    • Spike's demon pal Clem was a Nice Guy who gloriously subverted Beauty = 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.
    • Whistler, an Evil Mentor of sorts to Angel who was popular enough that Joss Whedon once considered bringing him over to Angel, thanks to his cool personality and great taste in headgear.
    • Vi and Amanda are easily 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 for being among the nicest and most competent of the bunch.
    • The Mayor's henchman Mr. Trick was one of the most memorable vampires in the series for being charismatic and funny, yet also intimidating.
    • Minor vampire Sandy is only onscreen for about five minutes across three episodes but is viewed with some interest by many for being sired by Vampire Willow and apparently being a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire in a franchise without too many of them.
    • Watcher Lydia has her fans for being the nicest of the Watchers' Council leadership and writing a thesis on Spike (which has inspired fans to actually recreate and publish one of their own).
    • Holden Webster (a vampirized former classmate of Buffy who psychoanalysis her in the middle of a surprisingly cordial fight) is well remembered and often discussed in spite of his brief screentime.
  • While not everyone likes her final character arc, people at least agree that Amy Madison is an interesting character, going from a Victim of the Week to another magi user to spending years trapped in a rats body and coming back a bit unbalanced. She even has a page on the Other Wiki.
  • Ethnic Scrappy: In the final season, Kennedy and Rona were the most prominent of the Potentials and some of the least likable characters in the show's run, the former being bratty, obnoxious and selfish and the latter for being a bitchy, ungrateful complainer.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Spike. Before he was turned into a vampire, he 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.
    • In "The Wish", 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, and Drusilla.
      • Vamp!Willow and Vamp!Xander deserve special mention, as it's explicitly shown that evil made them sexier. Xander and Willow were, at the time, considered dorks who dressed like Rummage Sale Rejects but became slick, sexy smooth-talkers upon becoming vampires.
    • 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!
    • It's not played up, but Amy Madison in Season 6 and onward, after she does a Face–Heel Turn.
    • Caleb is one of the most monstrous characters in either show - and he's Nathan Fillion playing a Sexy Priest.
  • Fair for Its Day: Willow and Tara's relationship early on reeked of Hide Your Lesbians. The network was so strict on what they were allowed to be shown doing that the writers were forced to use magic as a metaphor for lesbianism. And of course it involved a previously straight character suddenly discovering she was gay rather than bisexual. That doesn't change the fact that the romance was hugely groundbreaking for lesbians on TV. Tara eventually developed into her own character separate from just being Willow's girlfriend. They were also treated as simply another couple on the show, with their own problems and issues. Once the show moved to UPN, they were shown kissing a lot more and sharing a bed. This too was shocking because it wasn't too long ago that it was assumed that lesbians merely wanted emotional fulfillment rather than sex.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Buffy/Spike was this soon after Spike's introduction, but became this far more so in season 4. Unsurprisingly, the return of a beloved ex-Big Bad already steeped in Foe Yay with Buffy lining up with the introduction of notoriously unpopular Riley as Buffy's new Love Interest was basically a guaranteed recipe for this outcome. "Something Blue" only added more fuel to the fire. They eventually get together in both the show and comics.
    • Buffy/Faith, which the writers have acknowledged as subtext and which many, many fans consider canon.
    • As mentioned in Crossover Ship above, Dawn and Connor are most commonly paired with each other.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With Charmed (1998) due to They Copied It, Now It Sucks and the perceived idea that it was created to follow Buffy's success.note 
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • Wish!Verse: Remember that Alternate Universe from "The Wish" where Buffy never came to Sunnydale? How did Xander get turned? How did Willow? What happened with Darla? How did Angel became a wreck?
      • For that matter, other Wish!Verses based around another character never coming to Sunnydale.
    • Insert!Dawn-Fic: Everyone in the Cast was given false memories of Buffy's little sister Dawn in the Fifth season. How would any given episode in the first four seasons play out with Dawn there? In universe certain sources Retcon Dawn into the storyline, the Animated Adaptation intended to do this and one of the season eight comics has Buffy dream of season one with Dawn.
    • Normal!Verse: "Normal Again" told us that the entire show was a hallucination being created by Buffy in an insane asylum. Describe that world. Maybe the Big Bads are all just manifestations of her doctors.
    • Yet Another Halloween Fic: Also called YAHF for short, these deal with "Halloween" where people wearing cursed Halloween costumes started turning into the things they dressed as. Halloween World is probably the most famous among the fandom.
    • Hell, Halloween Fics have sprouted a tiny subgenre: Xander gets all the abilities and hardware (including a certain blue AI) of Spartan-117
    • "Earshot" has spawned several fics regarding Willow's comment about...ahem, her idea of the aspect of the demon.
    • The episode "Helpless" dealt with Buffy losing her slayer powers due to a ritual. What if she never got her powers back? Would she still fight monsters or use this chance to live a normal life?
    • Buffy is only the latest in a long, long line of women who slay monsters. In one short story, describe one of these previous- or future- Slayers.
    • What were the Trio up to during "Once More, With Feeling" and what was their song like?
    • Vengeance Demons are very useful plot devices for fanfic writers, given their conditionally omni-potent power that the gang have easy access to via Anya (and her friends).
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Many fans are notorious for this, seeing as how many fan theories of future events were thrown out the window by the premiere of a new season, hence the term Jossed, there are a few moments that just about everybody likes to forget.
    • Most fanfic (particularly the slash) will ignore that Spike said (and was later confirmed) to have been sired by Drusilla and NOT Angelus. To be fair this theory seemed canon for several seasons until clarified and, as many point out, Drusilla was hardly in a fit state of mind to raise a child herself so Angelus probably did a lot of it.
    • Most fans say that Willow's romantic relationships ended after Tara was murdered by Warren, so that Willow seeing Kennedy, the series Scrappy, never happened. Kennedy was widely hated for her unlikeable personality, which was made up entirely of trying to get Willow into bed, her shallow character, and terrible acting.
      • On a related note, many fans of Willow prefer to ignore Tara's murder all together. Others ignore the fact that Oz and Willow ever broke up.
    • A segment of fans also prefer to ignore the majority of the events of Season 4. Which featured the highly loathed Initiative, a new boyfriend for Buffy, ill received by fans and the equally loathed Frankenstein Monster, Adam, even though it means losing out on "Hush", one of the series' best episodes. Even those who don't ignore the events of Season 4 tend to ignore the episode "Beer Bad", which is easy, since it has no bearing on the overarching plot, and is generaly regarded as the worst episode in the series.
    • Some viewers dismiss all of seasons 6 and 7, except for a few outstanding episodes. Debate rages as to whether it's worth junking stuff like the "Smashed"/"Wrecked"/"Gone" trilogy, "Hell's Bells", "Empty Places", "Doublemeat Palace", and the ridiculously polarizing "Lies My Parents Told Me" if it means losing "Tabula Rasa", "Conversations With Dead People", and the legendary "Once More, With Feeling". This particular break in continuity is particularly easy to rationalize because the show switched networks between the fifth and sixth seasons and, in-universe, Buffy died in the season 5 finale.
    • Some fans will tolerate a bit of the sixth season and stop at "Once More With Feeling" due to it ending with Buffy and Spike getting together, even if it leaves behind a lot of loose ends.
    • Others ignore anything past Season 3, where Buffy's time in high school ended.
    • Some fans, especially since the beginning of the penultimate arc, consider the Season 8 comic-book as non canon. Officially, even if it is a comic, it is canon because it is outlined, and in some parts written, by Joss Whedon himself.
  • Fans Prefer the New Her: In "The Gift", Dawn has to take part in the ritual while wearing a sacrificial gown. Despite the Tear Jerker that it is for the scene where she puts it on - symbolising that she's accepted her impending death - the gown itself is quite cute.
  • 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. The subtext of Season 2 rapidly became text when Spike's obsession with killing Slayers and flirting with death developed into quite a different kind of...flirtation in Seasons three, four and five (most notably in the episode "Fool for Love"), until they became a canon couple in season six.
      • Joss Whedon himself noted that he didn't know why he didn't realize sooner that Spike's obsession with defeating Buffy was from him being in love with her. It came as a "well duh" moment.
      • In the opposite direction, it's worth noting that Buffy doesn't have sex with Spike (at her initiation) until after she realises that Spike's Restraining Bolt no longer works and he could kill her. At that point, though, it becomes Destructive Romance, showing just how potentially harmful one of these relationships really could be.
      • Subverted in Season Seven, when the same Foe Yay and Destructive Romance are replaced by Unresolved Sexual Tension and Undying Loyalty.
    • Angelus and Buffy in Season 2. He is as obsessed with Buffy (and hurting her) as Spike was, doing everything from terrorizing her and her friends to breaking into her house at night to draw pictures of her while she sleeps. He claims to be "punishing" her for making him remember Angel's love for her, though one might argue his obsession comes from another place. And of course his famous quote: "In order to kill this girl, you have to love her."
      • Interestingly enough, Angelus only calls off his long-drawn out plan of emotionally torturing Buffy after sharing a kiss with her while possessed by spirit lovers. Now he suddenly wants to destroy the world. And his extreme reaction of disgust and complaining of "love" is also worth mentioning.
      • This argument may actually be canon, as Angel lampshades this on his own show:
    Angel: The guy's a trainwreck when it comes to love. Almost destroyed the world. I can relate.
    • Glory has Foe Yay with everyone. Between holding and licking Tara's hand, or ripping her dress off before fighting Willow, or asking Buffy if she's "Had a long day at work, sweetie?", or pinning Spike to a bed and straddling him when she kidnaps him. And every interaction she has with Dawn is some horrid combination of "comforting big sister" and "child rapist".
    • Faith had a good amount, especially with Buffy. They were always rivals with large amounts of sexual tension, especially after Faith's Face–Heel Turn.
      • In "Touched", the First, who gains all of a person's knowledge and memories when they die, appeared to Faith as the Mayor, saying that all she wanted was for Buffy to accept and love her. Since he probably knew Faith better than anyone, this basically confirms that Faith was in love with Buffy. Some of their interactions make it easy to believe that Buffy loves her as well.
    • Holden Webster in "Conversations With Dead People": "I was afraid to talk to you in high school, and now we're, like, mortal enemies. Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we became nemeses?"
    • Warren and Buffy, which was noted by Willow: "That's why you always had a mad-on for the slayer. She was the Big 'O', wasn't she?"
    • Drusilla and Kendra. The final scene between them in "Becoming Part 1" has been described as "almost sexualized" and "a G-rated lesbian interlude"
    • Giles and Ethan, who are so obvious some thought it was actual text instead of subtext. Cordelia even picks up on it in "The Dark Age", when they meet in the library.
    Ethan: Hello Ripper.
    Giles: I thought I told you to leave town.
    Ethan: You did. I didn't. Shop's lease is paid 'til the end of the month.
    Cordelia: *aside to Xander* Why did he call him Ripper?
    *Giles grabs Ethan by his hair and hauls him to his feet, bringing them almost nose-to-nose*
    Giles: You should have left when I told you.
    Cordelia: *with a look of dawning comprehension* Oh . . .
    • 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.
  • Foe Yay Shipping: Some fans shipped Buffy with Spike almost since the latter's first appearance, long before their canon Destructive Romance.
  • Franchise Original Sin: Some of the major events that most polarized fandom in Seasons 6 and 7, 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 4'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:
    • In "Fear Itself", 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:
    • Season two. Spike and Drusilla's arrival in Sunnydale proved a noticeable upswing, but the true beard-growing moment was probably the resurgence of Angelus, cementing the shift from Monster of the Week episodes to a darkly comedic, character-driven series. True Art Is Angsty after all, right?
    • Others would argue the show at least grew some stubble in "Prophecy Girl", the first episode to really deal with bravery and explore the impact such a great destiny had on what was essentially a scared teenage girl.

     The Series (Tropes H - O) 
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In "Who Are You?", Buffy and Faith switch bodies, with the former appearing a complete and total Jerkass 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 a lot like he's about to rape her. Way later, there's the infamous incident in "Seeing Red".
    • 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 "Passion" and then go back and watch Giles fret "he's killing her" while Angel chokes Jenny into unconsciousness.
    • Similarly, in "Surprise", Drusilla freaks out over some flower decorations, mumbling that they're wrong, they're wrong, they're all wrong. Those flowers? Red roses. Given the events of "Passion", this is almost certainly not an accident.
    • 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.
    • Faith's never again mentioned sexual assault of Xander got even more uncomfortable when Eliza Dushku revealed in 2018 that at age 12, she was sexually abused by the stunt coordinator of True Lies, who even sabotaged a stunt and caused her to break a couple ribs as a threat of what would happen if she told anyone. This also casts the common fan assumption that Faith's mental issues might be related to childhood sex abuse in a darker light.
    • Joss Whedons' ex-wife Kai Cole claiming that he confessed to committing adultery on the set of Buffy and other shows he ran with his excuse being he's a guy who found himself surrounded by beautiful women, leaving one to guess which actresses he was having sex with.
      • That particular revelation also casts a very ugly light on Xander and Willow's season 3 "affair", particularly given Xander's mostly No Sympathy response to Cordie's reaction to finding out about it.
  • He's Just Hiding!:
    • There are some who like to think that Anya and Amanda could have survived the final battle, due to Anya seeming to go down too easy despite her powers and Amanda being killed by something that isn't always fatal in real life (a Neck Snap).
    • The explosion of the Watchers Headquarters can leave some slight ambiguity about whether it killed everyone Travers was talking with, given how its unclear if it was meant to happen right after he finished speaking with everyone in the room, not to mention the unpredictability of explosives in killing people in the first place.
  • He/She Really Can Act:
    • While never considered a bad actress, Sarah Michelle Gellar has received some particular praise at some points. Highlights include Buffy's reaction to her mother's death in "The Body", 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.
    • Joss first realized 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 Boreanaz'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 they were used to.
    • Alyson Hannigan really put people on notice during Season 3. "Doppelgangland" has her easily play regular Willow and vampire!Willow in the same scene, as well as extra scenes of them pretending to be the other one. In a more straightforward version of this trope, the bathroom scene in "Consequences" where Willow cries after realising Xander lost his virginity to Faith showed how well she could turn her characters from Adorkable into The Woobie.
    • Emma Caulfield made a seemingly mundane speech into the ultimate Tear Jerker in "The Body". She was also a revelation in "Once More, With Feeling" - as she was not known as a professional singer like some of the more accomplished members of the cast - but is held up as one of the strongest singers in the episode. They even got her to sing again in "Selfless"!
    • While many people detest her character Dawn, the same cannot be said about Michelle Trachtenberg's acting in numerous episodes, with "The Body", "The Gift", and "Conversations With Dead People" being major highlights of her acting prowess.
  • 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 tress 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.
    • In "Help", Willow questions if she's the only one who reads Doogie Howser, M.D. Fan Fic. Guess who stars alongside Willow's actress on 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. "When She Was Bad" 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.
    • "Doomed" had a scene where Xander said this to a freeloading Spike:
      "You're a waste of space! MySpace!
    • "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 9, 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, Part 2", 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. She even had to miss the Buffy wrap party because she was busy filming said movie.
    • "The Wish" is Anya's debut episode and features her trying to get Cordelia to wish vengeance upon Xander. Anyone who has seen the two of them as a long-running couple will find those lines hilarious. What's more is that one of Cordelia's wishes at the end is for Xander "to never again know the touch of a woman". Not only does she say this to his future fiancee, but he loses his virginity only a couple of episodes later.
    • A younger Michael Cudlitz guest stars in "The Zeppo" as one of Jack's friends, a zombie who is first shown rising from the grave and who is killed by Xander when his head is crushed. Years later, Cudlitz played Abraham on The Walking Dead, who fights zombies and dies when his head is crushed, though given the circumstances of his death he does not reanimate as a zombie.
    • The series referencing Dragon Ball Z in "Potential" is particularly funny in light of James Marsters' involvement with the franchise. Especially since the one who makes the reference is Andrew, who crushes on/idolizes Spike.
      • Trunks kills Merged Zamasu in the exact same way as Buffy kills Caleb: By slicing him in half from the groin up.
    • Christianity Today has an article saying "Don't let your kids watch Buffy". Come Season 3 of LazyTown, "Don't let your kids watch it" became a major meme after Robbie Rotten said not to let your kids watch LazyTown.
    • During the Scooby Gang's argument in "The Yoko Factor," Xander refers to Giles as "crusty old Alfred." Almost twenty years later, Anthony Head voiced Alfred in Batman: Gotham by Gaslight.
    • Dracula's attempt at seducing Buffy becomes this to All My Children fans, given that Dracula is played by Rudolf Martin, who played Anton Marrick, the husband and major love interest of the obsessive Kendall Hart, aka. Sarah Michelle Gellar.
    • Any Star Wars references became this when Sarah Michelle Gellar was cast in Star Wars Rebels. Plus, the original name for Yoda was Buffy.
    • The handful of times The Lord of the Rings is referenced becomes this when Sean Astin directed the Angel episode "Soulless".
  • Hollywood Homely:
    • The show tried to present Willow as being unattractive early on. She was definitely conceived that way, with the casting of Riff Regan in the un-aired pilot in mind. And oddly enough it was Executive Meddling asking for Willow to become "more hip, like Buffy" - even though Alyson Hannigan was already quite cute.
    • Xander was an even bigger victim of this than Willow. In this case it's his personality that makes him unattractive to others, but it's still a bit hard to swallow that he's considered a loser. Word of God is that they told Nicholas Brendon to stop working out so that Xander wouldn't look too buffed.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Amber Benson found herself attacked by fans over her weight - particularly around the time Willow chose her over Oz. She has never been anything resembling fat, but sharing the screen with the very waify Sarah Michelle Gellar and Alyson Hannigan made her look bigger by comparison. In fact, Amber was nearly turned down for the role because producers thought she was too voluptuous for a character imagined as very dainty (as she needed to take Willow's place as The Woobie since the latter was getting too powerful to keep putting in danger).
  • Idiot Plot:
    • "Living Conditions". Buffy struggles to get along with her roommate, who initially seems to be just annoying but is later revealed to be a soul-sucking demon. Solution? Buffy moves in with Willow. But why on Earth weren't they already living together? Why is Buffy living in the dorms at all, when her house is so close to campus? Whose brilliant idea was it for the Slayer, who sneaks out every night to fight evil, to share a room with a stranger, who can't help but notice this suspicious habit, in an unsecured environment with all of her weapons so very easy to find? A bad roommate could have stolen them. A good roommate might have logically mistaken her for a criminal. There was no way this was ever going to end well, and the characters had an entire summer to see the obvious reasons why not and make other arrangements.
    • In "Intervention", the titular heroine goes on a vision quest in the desert. Meanwhile, Spike has ordered a robot replica of her to use as a sex toy. Buffy's friends stumble upon said robot and cannot figure out that the eternally cheerful vapid robot having sex with Spike is, well, a robot, and not their friend. All the wacky hilarity that ensues depends on Buffy's best friends not being able to figure out the difference between her and a robot, even though a few episodes earlier, it took them all of five minutes to detect that a woman they had never met before was the same kind of bot. Buffy lampshades this, expressing incredulity that her friends couldn't tell the difference.
    • When Buffy is struggling to make money in Season 6, first trying to get a loan and later becoming an employee of the Doublemeat Palace, no one even once suggests that Willow and Tara could pitch in, despite them living in her house. It's probably because Willow and Tara, unlike Buffy, were in college, but there is such a thing as a college student with a part-time job.
    • Of course, the whole latter half of Season 2 is dependent on the gypsies who gave Angel his soul as a punishment deciding that if he becomes happy and stops being punished... he'll lose his soul and turn back into a psychotic killer with ambitions to destroy the world. Which not only guarantees he won't be being punished anymore, it's also kind of, um, dangerous. Okay, maybe they didn't have that much control over how the curse worked, but they don't explain the rules to Angel, simply sending Jenny to keep an eye on him without bothering to tell her how the curse can be broken, and have her make a half-hearted attempt to keep Angel and Buffy apart. You'd think explaining to Angel how his soul could be lost again would fit perfectly with their vengeance, since he'd then make sure to never be happy (not to mention that anytime he lost his soul and his friends would put it back, they did the EXACT SAME WAY instead of just putting it in to stay without any loophole).
    • When the First Evil starts appearing to people pretending to be their loved ones to break them...the gang keeps falling for it. No one thinks of using a secret handshake or anything to prove it's really them instead of the First Evil. Hell, a regular handshake would work because the visions are incorporeal. But everyone just keeps assuming it was really someone else instead of the entity they know is out to mess with them.
    • "Chosen" gives all the characters the Idiot Ball several times over, considering their strategy to go into the Hellmouth. First, they have the potential Slayers enter the Hellmouth before Willow's spell takes effect, when they could easily wait to make sure it was effective before sentencing themselves to violent and certain death. Second, they risk the lives of all the non-Slayer Scoobies by posting them as guards around the high school. Sure, MAYBE keep Giles and Robin around, but Dawn, Andrew and Anya would hardly add enough manpower to make it worth the risk. It's even more bizarre when you realize that they are fighting vamps in the middle of the day, who can't leave the school without getting dusted. Given the way the events unfold, having any of the Scoobies around turned out to be completely unnecessary anyway.
  • Iron Woobie:
    • Buffy. Life screws her over royally time and again. Even when demonic forces aren't actively threatening everything she holds dear, she is still risking her life on a nightly basis and constantly alone, but she just keeps going. In fact, most Buffyverse characters are this trope. Joss Whedon is just mean to his characters.
    • Xander Harris. He's been the most unfortunate of all of the main characters (except the titular character herself). Bad things happen to him for nearly no reason other than to provide comedy and/or angst for the main character, to the point that at one point he declares himself the butt-monkey of the BTVS universe. Furthermore, despite a highly impressive track record, his achievements, loyalty, and bravery are always downplayed/dismissed by his friends until such a time that he becomes useful for them. Despite this treatment, he never turns on his friends or the fight against evil, and you have to admire him for that determination. Xander addresses this in "Potential". After Dawn acknowledges that she is not the new potential slayer the Scoobies were looking for, Xander tells her that the others will never know what it's like to be normal when all of your friends have ridiculous amounts of power that keep growing, but that he knows how much strength it took for Dawn to not let everyone continue to think that she was the potential. It's actually a pretty touching scene.
  • Jerkass Dissonance: Joss Whedon hated the idea of another vampire romance for Buffy (he never wanted the first one either) and wanted Spike to get killed despite his popularity, as he was determined for vampires to remain villains. However, Spike's fans wouldn't be deterred and many continued loving him no matter how hard his evil past was emphasized. Whedon eventually relented and let Spike complete his full Heel–Face Turn by the end of the series—albeit not without putting both him and his fans through the ringer first.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Say what you like about Faith's brash, tactless attitude, her willingness and lack of shame at using people like tampons and her psychotic murderous qualities, but even her most zealous of haters (as well as her most dedicated fans) admit that it must have sucked to be her. To have abusive, alcoholic parents who are strongly implied to be dead, to see your watcher die in front of your eyes and to never of had a real father figure must have stung pretty badly. And of course, there's the whole being stuck in a coma for months thing, before awakening to find the only person who ever cared for you is dead. Truly the cherry upon the crappy cake that is Faith's life. The real question among the fandom is whether Faith uses all her misfortune as a excuse to be a heartless, violent bitch or if she is genuinely a victim who has been pushed off the rails and needs all the support she can get. Of course, then there are the people who argued that she was offered support, but chose not to take it, preferring to resume her sociopathic, reckless lifestyle for her own selfish benefit. Or even if she was so unused to being offered friendship and understanding that the poor mess couldn't process it. Either way, definitely a Jerkass, definitely a woobie.
    • Spike spent most of his human life as a ridiculed introvert, rejected by the woman he loved. Then he was turned, and turned his mother out of love and devotion. She promptly tried to molest him and accused him of being Oedipal, forcing him to stake her. He then spent twenty years or so in the company of three of the most evil vampires in history, often considered bottom of the pack as the youngest, and had to see Drusilla, who he adored, screw Angelus. Then he lost Drusilla and was essentially neutered and mocked, used as a source for information and occasional meatshield by the Scoobies. Despite this, he retained a capacity to feel love (even if he was phenomenally bad at expressing it in a remotely human manner) and affection (e.g. Dawn and Joyce), making him nigh unique among vampires. After that, Buffy essentially yanks him back and forth for most of series 6, taking advantage of his affections for her for sexual escapism but mocking and dehumanizing him constantly for thinking it might have meant something. Then he resolves to get himself a soul and is promptly driven mad by it, then driven further up the bend by the First, and dies in a Heroic Sacrifice after finally getting a Love Confession from the woman he adored—which he doesn't even believe, meaning he wasn't even granted Let Them Die Happy before biting the dust. (He got better, so it's not too bad, but still). Granted all this is presented amongst an extremely dark past of being a Hero Killer, some very questionable (and some outright terrible) acts, as well as a generally snarky attitude, which is where the jerkass comes in. However, the universe really has kicked just the ever-loving crap out of the guy for most of his existence, which definitely qualifies him for a Woobie.
      • This quote sums it up pretty well; "The chip. It won't let me be a monster. And I can't be a man. I'm nothing." Did Spike get what was inevitably coming to him? Did he deserve this? Did he bring all or at least most of his suffering on himself? Well, yeah. Does that make him any less ashamed, lonely and conflicted in a way a lot of the audience really connected with? Does it lessen how sympathetic his frequent but often horribly failed attempts at being good are? Not one bit.
    • Buffy herself, after she sacrificed herself to save her sister (and the world, though at that point, she cared little about it in comparison) only for her friends to bring her back to life. Confused, scared, and hurt, she reveals that she was happy being dead and in heaven, simultaneously pushing people away and using them.
    • As whiny and self-centred as Dawn could get, it's hard not to feel bad for her at times. Let's see, she finds out that her entire existence is false, her mother dies, she's almost sacrificed by a psychotic god, her sister dies in her place and is then brought back in the wrong headspace, the couple who raise her in Buffy's absence break up (essentially making her relive her parents' divorce), then one half is murdered and the other half almost turns her back into a ball of energy. Is it any wonder she develops abandoment issues? At one point, she tearfully confesses to Spike that the burden of being the Key is so much that she thinks she's evil due to the awful things that have happened. All this while still a teenager. Christ, send the poor kid hugs, ASAP.
  • 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. Buffy, Angel and Spike are also shipped with just about anyone and everyone—including each other all at once and in every possible combination.
  • Love to Hate:
    • Plenty of fans loved Cordelia pre character development, given how wonderfully bitchy she was.
    • 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".
    • Pre-Heel–Face Turn Spike, who mixed coolness with being a genuine threat, so much so that his arrival helped with Growing the Beard.
    • Faith, who before her return to good, provided the perfect Evil Counterpart and Foil to Buffy.
    • Drusilla for being rather quaint yet, a Creepy Awesome variety. She managed to kill a Slayer with hypnosis after all.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Big Bad of season 3, Mayor Richard Wilkins, was the founder of Sunnydale and the architect of much of the evil in the show to that point. Having created the town as a place for demons to gather, Wilkins manipulates the town and demons alike to empower himself for his Ascension into a pure-blooded demon. Wilkins frequently stays ahead of Buffy and the Scooby Gang and manages to become invulnerable, even allowing the rogue slayer Faith to join his team. Forming a genuinely loving father-daughter bond with her, the Mayor manages to complete his plans to Ascend, with only a fullscale war at Sunnydale High managing to stop him. Even post-mortem, Wilkins leaves behind a way for Faith to prosper and possibly destroy Buffy. Despite his clear evil, Wilkins manages to remain a very pleasant and intelligent man, always ready with a smile and a joke who proves to be one of Buffy's most dangerous enemies.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Buffy's plan in Season 7 involves becoming this. Results vary.
    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 badass 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 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. His achievements (for the most part) are 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 Dark Side!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.
    • "Dawn’s in trouble? Must be Tuesday". Dawn started out as an annoying Damsel Scrappy and she will Never Live It Down with the fans. Despite being a relatively normal teenager, being around Buffy’s gang made her lack of superpowers alone look bad, but with her teenage angst Scrappy qualities on top of that she quickly made a reputation for herself as the most useless character on the show (as even Xander, listed above, could at least be considered The Heart.) She picked up the slack and Took a Level in Badass in Season 7, redeeming herself at least somewhat to many fans, but the fact of the matter was that she could never truly go beyond Badass Normal status and become a genuinely useful fighter like the rest of the group. She actually had a nice bonding moment with fellow Memetic Loser Xander over this in "Potential". The comics also eventually threw her a bone by giving her the ability to open portals in season 10.
  • Memetic Molester:
    • You've got to wonder why no one questioned Giles always being alone with teenage girls. Lampshaded three times:
      • First one:
    Willow: He's our grown-up friend, but not in the creepy way.
    • Second...
    Giles: Now wait a minute - you think I'm evil... if I bring a group of girls on a camping trip and don't touch them?
    Buffy: When I kissed you? You know I was thinking about Giles, right?
    Spike: (Double Take) You know, I always wondered about you two.
    • Angel too, of course. It's completely canon that he and Buffy consummated when she had just turned seventeen, and were at the stage of regular making out before this, but properly understood, this isn't squicky. The memetic interpretation is that Angel is an Ephebophile who was planning to exploit Buffy from the moment he laid eyes on her. The best fodder for such an interpretation is the flashback scene in "Becoming Part 1" in which Buffy is just a sixteen-year-old coming out of school, giggling girlishly with her friends, while Angel sits in a car parked in the shadows, watching her without her knowing he exists.
  • 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:
    • Whenever a villain tortured a member of the Scooby Gang, they tended to be seen as having gone just plain too far. Such as when Angelus tortured Giles to get information, and when in Angel, Faith tortured Wesley, in an attempt to get Angel to murder her because she could no longer live with herself.
    • For the first half Season 6, The Trio is presented as little more than incapable comic relief, posing no real threat to The Scoobies or society. The murder of Katrina in "Dead Things" however, cements Warren as a full-blown misogynist with no care for anyone (including his lackeys) and no chance for redemption.
    • Word of God says that Angelus' murder of Jenny Calender in S2's "Passion" was important for the purpose of displaying how evil Angelus had become. Before that act, Angelus had murdered at least 4 people since being turned, but had not yet committed an offense so grievious to the audience (and the Scoobies) that it became a serious question as to whether or not it was even possible to redeem Angel, and if it was would anyone (besides Buffy) want to do it? As an added layer, Angelus was purposely in his vampire face during the murder so that Angel (Angelus with a soul) could still have some form of positive reputation following his return.
    • If it wasn't the Attempted Rape and murder of Xander, Faith trying to kill Angel is an In-Universe example, motivating Buffy to feed her to him or kill her trying to do so. When she recovers Faith also essentially rapes both Buffy and Riley (she uses Buffy's body to try and get Riley to sleep with her.) Buffy is so furious she is willing to go through Angel in her attempt to kill her, but Angel defied this trope by claiming that despite all this, Faith still wasn't too far gone.
    • Glory mind sucking Tara in "Tough Love".
    • 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". It's no shock that he later becomes the Big Bad of season 10 of the comics.
    • "Family": "Tara, if you don't get in that car I swear by God I'm gonna beat you down."
    • Principal Snyder was a comical, child-hating asshole who had it in for Buffy. He really crosses the line at the end of season two when he lies to police that she murdered Kendra.
  • More Popular Spin-Off: Angel and Faith compared to the Season 9 issues.
  • Narm:
    • Fans just love to mock the scene in "Prophecy Girl" when Angel tells Xander that he can't perform CPR on Buffy because, being a vampire, he has no breath. Except that they had been running down a tunnel for a while, and David Boreanez is audibly winded as he says the line.
    • Dark!Willow's "bored now". It was supposed to be horrifying and a reminder of the awesome creepiness that was Vampire Willow. With Miss Hannigan playing Dark!Willow like she was sleepwalking, it didn't really have the intended effect.
    • There is a scene in "The Wish" after Vampire Willow and Xander die, and the Master and Buffy are literally pushing people from one side to the other in an effort to get to each other. Dramatic to the point of funny, the scene probably defines narm.
    • The occasional instance of Fight Scene Failure in the early seasons.
    • And the Special Effect Failure with the Mayor's Ascension in "Graduation Day Part 2".
    • Any time the show did giant snakes, like Lurconis or the Spawn of Sobek.
    • The utterly ridiculous ease with which some Mooks and Monsters of the Week are killed.
    • Watch as one of the vampires in "School Hard" seems to purposely swerve into the path of a cart kicked in his general direction.
    • In "First Date", 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 lack of seriousness. Then he uses the flash cards he made for Chao-Ahn to make his point.
    • Dark magic gets you high, as in you literally float up to the ceiling. Fantastic.
    • Buffy and Riley's scene at the end of "Who Are You?", mostly due to Riley's dialogue.
    • Spike's non-reaction to Dru siring him in "Fool For Love".
    • "I Robot, You Jane"
    • The attempt at a Madness Mantra for computer nerds from the same episode:
      "I'm jacked in. I'm jacked in."
    • The way Willow brandishes the gun in "The Killer In Me" is distracting.
    • For Canadian viewers only, Spike's trigger in Season 7, since it's the same tune as the old kids' show The Friendly Giant. Imagine if the First turned Spike evil by singing "It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood" or "Sunny Days, Sweeping the Clouds Away..." and you'll have an idea of how Canadians saw that scene.
    • In "The Puppet Show" it looked like the enemy would be a talking puppet. (It turned out not to be the enemy, but there was still a talking puppet! And it was horny!)
    • There's the scene in "Angel" right after Buffy finds out that Angel is a vampire, in which Buffy throws Angel out her living room window. While her mom was home.
    • From Season 7's "Showtime" there's Andrew saying "two men enter, one man leaves" as Buffy begins to fight the Turok-Han. It Makes Sense in Context but Andrew says it right in the middle of a big dramatic confrontation and it comes across as genuinely serious, rather than the frequent nerdy references Andrew is known for. It seems like the show is trying to play it straight rather than using it for parody.
    • Most Buffy and Angel-centric episodes are bound to have cheesy dialogue, with optional Fauxlosophic Narration.
      "It's not the demon in me that needs killing, Buffy. IT'S THE MAN!"
    • Season Six: 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. By the time the season six finale rolls around, the angst levels have gotten so ridiculous that Giles bursts out laughing after he's filled in on everything he missed that year, and Buffy promptly follows suit.
    • When Buffy is turned invisible in "Gone", she tries to talk to Dawn, who shrieks out the quite inexplicable line "How am I supposed to talk to you when I can't see you?" One wonders how this girl handles talking on the phone.
    • In "Bargaining Part 2", 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 the otherwise extremely effective episode "Passion", Angelus kills Jenny Calendar and burns her computer to destroy her findings on how to restore his soul... except, he didn't on the latter. Angelus only destroys Jenny's monitor, leaving her computer—the actual important part that holds all her files—completely untouched. Willow could have easily recovered Jenny's findings by simply buying a new, working computer monitor and hooking it up to Jenny's system. This was, of course, before computers were a staple in most households and knowledge about how they worked wasn't common, so this detail likely slipped by audiences at the time. However, to a modern audience watching back, Angelus' blunder is pretty narmy.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Most casual fans know the titular heroine as a high school cheerleader who kills vampires. The last time Buffy shows any interest in cheerleading at all is in "The Witch". After that she practically never mentions it again. The identification of Buffy as a cheerleader seems to have been a holdover from the original movie which featured it much more prominently. The first season's opening also features Buffy as a cheerleader.
    • 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.
  • Older Than They Think: "Normal Again" 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-Scene Wonder: In her one scene in the entire series (for which she is uncredited for) Amber Grove from the third episode has a very impressively choreographed cheer audition, followed by her nearly being immolated by a witch's spell.
  • 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, it's pretty clear that at least Buffy would be game for such an arrangement. And given the copious amounts of Ho Yay, and an outright admission by Spike that they slept together at least once while soulless, there's space to consider the possibility that Spike and Angel might be too. It's even acknowledged in-universe in the season 10 comics when Harmony declares that the best way to settle the Love Triangle would be Polyamory.
    • 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.
    • Willow/Tara/Oz is this for some who love how both of the latter two supported and encouraged Willow while in a relationship with her.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: Joss Whedon was largely absent from season six, as he was working on Firefly. The result was a season that was disliked by a lot of fans, with the exception of the beloved "Once More With Feeling", which, funnily enough, was Joss' sole contribution to that season, though as always he contributed the overall seasonal plot and made notes on others' work.

     The Series (Tropes P - Z) 
  • Relationship Writing Fumble:
    • The writers realized they were writing way too much Belligerent Sexual Tension into Cordelia and Xander's interactions, so they just went with it and made them a couple.
      Cordelia: I'd rather be worm food than look at your pathetic face!
      Xander: Then go! I'm not stopping you!
      Cordelia: I bet you wouldn't! I bet you'd let a girl go off to her doom all by herself!
      Xander: Not just any girl. You're special.
      Cordelia: I can't believe that I'm stuck spending what will probably be my last few moments on Earth here — with you!
      Xander: I hope these are my last few moments! Three more seconds with you, and I'm gonna...
      Cordelia: 'I'm gonna' what? Coward!
      Xander: Moron!
      Cordelia: I hate you!
      Xander: I hate you!
      [They kiss for the first time — hard]
    • During "The Initiative", Riley is seen comforting a depressed Willow at a party. Riley's sensitivity here and the chemistry between Alyson Hannigan and Marc Blucas 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 and the catalyst to Buffy deciding she was over bad boys, but there was so much chemistry between them that the Spuffy pairing just took off.
    • By season three, Whedon had decided that either Xander or Willow would eventually come out as gay. He was apparently leaning toward Xander, but in season four Alyson Hannigan and Amber Benson had such astonishing chemistry that Willow/Tara became canon instead.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Kennedy was not well-received by fans, and not just because of her replacing Tara. First off, introducing a new love interest for Willow so soon after Tara's death was questionable; secondly, she came across as bratty, egotistical and selfish: she lied to get Willow to date her, never behaved sensitively re: the Tara issue, talked about nothing other than herself and being gay, etc. She also indirectly helped cause the suicide of one of the Potentials with her Drill Sergeant Nasty act; it was the First Evil that actually caused it, but Kennedy at least scores an assist (although given that Buffy's response was a "eulogy" about how pathetic the girl was, she probably wasn't alone in that). In the Season 8 comics, the writers finally wised up and had Willow break up with 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. The dislike wasn't universal however: Some reviewers at the time considered Kennedy one of the more interesting and likable aspects of the Potentials storyline, while the last volume of the unlicensed guide book Slayer provided a more even-handed look at Willow and Kennedy's relationship while acknowledging the flaws that caused many fans to reject it.
    • 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:
    • Tara was originally despised for replacing Oz as Willow's Love Interest, but over time the fans came to love her and then revolted when she went off the show and was followed by, Kennedy, who was despised through the rest of the series and into the comics despite several attempts to make her a character most fans would consider really cool were it anyone else. Part of this was achieved through character development that gave Tara a strong friendship with Buffy, making her a surrogate big sister/mother for Dawn and a more confident person that helped her be more than just a Satellite Love Interest.
    • 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 divisive but people who don't like the season do list Dawn's character as having improved.
    • Depending on who you ask, Kennedy achieves this in Season 9, 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.
    • Until the Guarded comic storyline. A million respect points for salvaging what Slayers had become by having them become Bodyguard Babes, and working with Buffy who is currently Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Shortly after he was introduced some viewers were convinced Oz was evil. Joss Whedon personally spoke out against this, saying he didn't understand this interpretation.
    • The author of the fic Penny For Your... is especially blatant when it comes to clearing away Buffy's other boyfriends in order to leave room for her "one twoo wub", Spike. Angel is depicted as an arrogant idiot child with a god-complex, while Riley is turned into a sadistic monster whose attitude actually improves once he's turned into a vampire. And of course, Buffy's friends are all okay with her getting with Spike, even the vampire-hating Xander.
    • Spuffy authors really don't give Angel or Riley a break. The fanfic Five Words or Less is another, albeit much milder example. Riley is portrayed as a bastard boyfriend who likes to gleefully beat up Spike for no reason other than he's proving to be a better match for Buffy, and while Angel isn't bashed nearly as much as Riley, there is one instance where he comes off as a little too childish and petty.
    • In the Superman crossover The Child of Rao, Willow is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who stole Jenny Calendar's magic books immediately after learning she died, frequently uses black magic, hates Cordelia and Faith with a passion for being more attractive and confident than her, and has tried to break up Xander and Cordelia multiple times with magic. The author uses the justification that Willow became addicted to black magic much sooner than canon in this story.
  • Saved by the Fans: Spike was going to last only five episodes, but proved so popular that he was spared and went on to become the show's Breakout Character.
    • Several characters were going to appear for a few episodes and then die, but were instead saved (Oz and Faith are the shining examples), some were killed off much later than intended (Joyce Summers and Tara), some were even revived from the dead. Fan reaction to the characters was the deciding factor every single time.
  • Scapegoat Creator: A large portion of the fandom can still be guaranteed to meltdown at the name of Marti Noxon, whom they hold responsible for the divisive sixth season, during which she took over showrunner duties while Joss Whedon was giving the majority of his time to Angel and Firefly. For many of them, the failure of subsequent series Point Pleasant was often held up as "proof" that she was out of her depth helming a TV show. Whedon came to her defense, saying the most divisive story elements ultimately came from him. David Fury and Steven DeKnight sometimes also get this, although in their cases it's more down to off-screen interactions with fans that went bad.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Dawn, thanks to her constant whining and ungrateful attitude, as well as how useless and even detrimental she is to the Scoobies. It doesn't help that Buffy sacrifices herself for her in the Season 5 finale, something quite a few fans felt was unearned on Dawn's behalf. 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. Well that, and the fact Kennedy turns up in that season, who is generally even more despised than Dawn, making Dawn look much better in comparison.
    • 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. In this ranking of the major and recurring characters in the Buffyverse, she comes dead last. That's right, fans hated her more than the villains.
    • 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:
    • Season 4 is a popular candidate, losing the high school element and most of the popular characters, with Angel and Cordelia having disappeared off onto another show, Oz departing early in the season for parts unknown, and Xander and Giles not being as integrated into the college setting. Buffy's relationship with Riley was not well received and the introduction of a demon-hunting military unit was too much of a departure from the show's norm. The season also took far too long to get to the point, waiting until over halfway through before introducing Big Bad Adam and then hardly doing anything with him (only his first full episode and the two-parter that wrapped up his storyline give him any real screen time, with the intervening episodes trying to keep the arc moving by having characters go "We must do something to stop Adam" during unrelated problems), leaving it feeling rather directionless at times. Main plus points were Spike's emerging Ensemble Dark Horse status, the return of Faith in "This Year's Girl/Who Are You?", and a few decent individual episodes like "Fear Itself", "Hush" and "Restless".
    • Season 6 in particular is a case of divisiveness; many revile it for levels of gloom bordering on Wangst, the pathetic-ness of the Trio of as Big Bad, plot elements such as the widely-detested "magic addiction" arc and an inconsistently written romance between Spike and Buffy. On the other hand, some praise it for the attempts at emotional depth and character development, a change of pace from the relentless Sorting Algorithm of Evil, and individually beloved episodes like "Once More, With Feeling" and "Tabula Rasa". Lampshaded in this scene:
      Buffy: Giles, everything's just been so... Xander left Anya at the altar, and Anya's a vengeance demon again... Dawn's a total klepto... money's been so tight that I've been slinging burgers at the Doublemeat Palace... And I've been sleeping with Spike.
      Giles starts to laugh
    • Season 7 likewise gets a lot of flak when compared to what came before. While it doesn't have as much in it that angered fans like Season 6 did (what with the dissolution of Xander/Anya, Willow's addiction to magic, and the near-rape of Buffy), it also lacks a lot of the highs that Season 6 managed ("Once More, With Feeling", "Tabula Rasa", the final arc with Willow's Heel–Face Turn). Season 7's greatest offering is "Conversations With Dead People", but other than that, the entire run of episodes is spent preparing for a fight with the Big Bad. This provides the season with a lot of weariness, as there are far fewer lighthearted episodes to offer levity, and the Big Bad itself was rather uninteresting (being little more than an incarnation of evil). Its Dragon Caleb had potential but is introduced far too late and killed off far too quickly to be among the show's most memorable villains. The Potentials had a mixed reaction: Individual characters were liked by some and hated by others, but either way giving Buffy a mostly non-speaking Red Shirt Army resulted in long-standing characters being pushed to the sidelines. There are, however, a number of decent episodes like "Same Time, Same Place", "First Date" and the Spike character piece "Lies My Parents Told Me".
  • Sequel Displacement: Not many people know of the film.
  • 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.
  • Shocking Moments:
    • 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.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Buffy using a rocket launcher to kill The Judge doubles as both this and a 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.
    • Buffy and Spike literally bringing the house down as they have sex for the first time.
    • Tara's death.
    • 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.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • The costume used for Oz's werewolf form for most of the show. When Angel, in its final season, did a werewolf story, the note given to the costume designer was allegedly "don't make it look like a gay possum".
    • The fight between Buffy and the giant enchanted snake in "Shadow" consists of long shots in which both Buffy and the snake are rendered in really bad CGI, and close-up shots of Gellar wrestling with a huge, virtually immobile, obviously plastic snake head and doing her best to make it look as if it is fighting back.
    • The CGI explosion for the destruction of the Watchers' Council headquarters in "Never Leave Me" was so bad that it was reduced to an almost subliminal length on-screen.
    • The vampire Game Face prosthetics look great, even in early seasons, however all the actors tend to get pretty distracting Fang Thpeak from the large obstructive fake fangs in their mouths. It gets better as things go on, particularly with mainstays like James Marsters and David Boreanaz, who have custom prosthetics that fit better to their faces.
    • The Mayor's ascension ends up looking pretty Narm-y due to the dated 90's tv-budget CGI.
    • Adam's design is just downright goofy—the comically oversized flesh stitches, rubbery-looking metal plates all over his body and the nerdy-looking haircut just undercut any intimidation factor his design could have had. It was bad enough that when The First Evil briefly imitates him in season 7, his hairstyle and metal plates were fixed up so he looked a little cooler.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: While it was meant chiefly as an adaptation of the 1992 movie, Whedon has also acknowledged the influence of The Lost Boys on the show, specifically citing Spike and the vampires' Game Face as having been inspired by that film. The plot descriptions of both (horror-comedies about teenagers moving to a California beach town only to find it crawling with vampires) are also remarkably similar.
  • Spoiled by the Format: Angel's return in Season 3 would’ve been a great twist if David Boreanaz hadn’t appeared in the main credits and shown off the fact that he was coming back.
    • Likewise, Spike's Dramatic Unmask in "The Harsh Light Of Day" is spoiled by the credits having already announced a few minutes prior that "James Marsters as Spike" was going to appear in the episode, leaving little doubt who Harmony's vampiric boyfriend would turn out to be.
  • Stoic Woobie: Giles was this in Season 2 after the death of Jenny Calendar and in Season 6 when Buffy died. He also may or may not have been this in Season 4 after being unemployed and going through a mid-life crisis.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Two big examples.
    • Buffy and Riley had no hope right from the start. Granted, the writers 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. The timing of this relationship didn't help much — shortly after Buffy's dramatic and defining relationship with Angel ends and Angel leaves Sunnydale, the writers tried introducing Buffy into a brand new romantic relationship with a brand new character without giving much recovery time for the end of the Buffy/Angel relationship, which had been a primary storyline of Seasons 1-3.
    • 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 in "Life Serial". 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!: Happens multiple times with Dawn:
    • In the last issue of season 8 she refers to herself as the former "Scrappy-Doo" of the gang.
    • In "Once More, With Feeling", she starts to sing a whiny song about how no-one notices or cares about her. She is kidnapped by the villain's henchmen before she sings more than two lines. (Although this was largely because the actress didn't want to sing, it's still pretty satisfying.)
    • In "Two to Go", Dark Willow calls Dawn out for her constant whining and offers to turn her back into her native form of a ball of energy, just to put a stop to it.
    Wanna go back? End the pain? You'll be happier. I'd be happier. We'll all be a lot happier without having to listen to all your constant whining. "Mom! Buffy! Tara! Wah!"
    • In "Touched", Faith finally puts Kennedy in her place by telling her to back the hell off. The comics see Willow break up with her and Buffy punch her in the face, giving her a black eye.
    • A small one, but at least a little cathartic in the face of all the Character Shilling he otherwise gets is Spike directly calling out Riley's general blandness by nicknaming him things like "Captain Cardboard" and "White Bread". Plus, Angel kicks his ass in "The Yoko Factor" and tells Buffy that he doesn't like him.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Oh boy, Willow and Tara in the early stages of their relationship, "Family" being the sappiest episode ever. It ended with the two of them hugging while floating in the air. Thankfully they became a much more realistic couple towards the end of season 5.
  • 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.
    • In "Out Of Mind, Out Of Sight", 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.
    • 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, in particular his weird relationship with his friend/meat puppet Xander.
    • Professor Maggie Walsh was shaping up to be an interesting arc villain in Season 4 - a human Well-Intentioned Extremist who shared many of Buffy's goals, had personal relationships with Buffy, Willow and Riley, and at one point even eclipsed Giles as a mentor figure for Buffy. Alas, she was killed halfway through the season and replaced by her own creation, the far less relatable human-demon-cyborg hybrid Adam, who barely interacted with the main cast.
    • The original plans for Sunday, the vampire Buffy faces in the first episode of season 4, was that she was a previous slayer turned vampire. Seeds of this storyline remain in the episode, particularly in Sunday’s uncanny savviness against Buffy. One has to wonder why that idea wasn’t resurrected when Walsh had to be written out, rather than the introduction of pretty universally disliked Frankenstein Expy Adam.
    • Dawn is an inter-dimensional key to hell dimensions in human form but was given no powers, and is largely used as a helpless Damsel in Distress for most of her time on the show. The comics take better advantage of Dawn's origins, granting her portal-opening powers in season 10, but even then it was used rather scarcely.
    • Amy Madison feels like she could have been a more regular character after being turned human, and maybe even a member of the gang with some nice new personality traits instead of only having a few more (somewhat antagonistic) appearances.
    • Vampire bar fly Sandy, given a bit of flirtation with Riley and seeming like a rare non-murderous vampire.
  • 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. Then again, it's not like most shows of the time (or even today) ever acknowledge that for what it is.
    • 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.
    • Xander had all the puzzle pieces to have a character arc regarding his vampire hatred; with what happened to Jesse being the catalyst for it and close proximity to two “reformed” vampires being obvious places of growth. Instead Jesse is never brought up after the pilot, the potential trauma Jesse’s death may have caused goes unexamined and Xander continues indiscriminately hating Angel and Spike right to the end, regardless of the status of their souls and their actions. The comics somewhat fix this, as it does have Xander briefly admit to having some trauma over Jesse, and he later does seem to get over his vampire hatred by starting an Odd Friendship with Dracula and becoming Vitriolic Best Buds with Spike. It is, however, still mostly an implied arc that isn't examined too in-depth.
  • Tough Act to Follow:
    • Season three had what many consider to be the show's best ever Big Bad, Mayor Richard Wilkins III. Season four's main villain was Adam, who many fans, as well as Whedon himself, felt to be the most boring villain. Season five gave us Glory, who was a return to the more entertaining main villains of the past.
    • One reason why Riley and Kennedy were so disliked was that they followed characters who were not only well-liked, but were part of beloved pairing. In Riley's case, Buffy and Angel was the original great romance of the series, while Willow and Tara are often named as the show's best couple.
  • Ugly Cute: The Gentlemen are scary as hell, but they're so friendly and polite with one another that it's almost endearing, especially when they politely applaud each others' work.
    • Gachnar the Fear Demon. He's about as ugly as any given (non-vampiric) demon, but he's so tiny that he's pretty cute.
  • 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 and wish they would either just put him out of his misery or try to help him.
    • Doris the social worker from "Gone" is made to look as though she's going mad just because she dropped around Buffy's house at the worst possible time. Buffy's behaviour in the episode is shown to be immature but a lot of people felt sorry for Doris - given that her job was to report if Dawn was being treated well at home.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Buffy in "The Gift" 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's 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.
    • Subverted in real life and played straight in-universe with Angelus. When Angelus kills Jenny Calendar, Joss purposely had him in his vamp face to make the audience hate Angelus’s face, not Angel’s, the variant with a soul and a human face. This showcased that Angel as we knew him was not there anymore and that he was a threat that needed to be taken seriously. It worked for the fan base and Angel remains one of the most popular characters in the Buffyverse. Xander, however, constantly use this act to justify his dislike for Angel even when he has his soul back despite the fact that he was not in control of his actions at this point.
    • Riley in, well, most of season 5 but particularly in "Into the Woods". Firstly, he begins getting insecure about his girlfriend one-upping him in the strength department, which is a guaranteed Berserk Button to most fans of a Feminist Fantasy show. Then he, in a completely misguided and ridiculous attempt to "darken" himself for Buffy, gets addicted to being fed on by vampires. How exactly he thought doing this behind her back would make him more appealing to her in the first place is anyone's guess, but then he decides to indulge in this habit after having spent a romantic night with Buffy. Upon getting caught and Buffy getting validly upset about it, he jumps on the defence and issues her an ultimatum that she needs to give him a reason not to leave her and rejoin the army. Not only is Buffy presented as the wrong party for being upset at such a demand, but Xander even tells her off for being a supposed "bad girlfriend" and all but guilt-trips her into taking Riley back. By the end of the episode, the audience was apparently intended to view Buffy just barely missing Riley before he leaves in a helicopter as some sort of grand tragedy. This is despite the entire season and episode making it about as clear as it possibly could be that they were just entirely incompatible and that he just... wasn't that great.
    • Xander in "Hell's Bells". While many fans do sympathize with his worries about getting married considering his family history, it's almost universally agreed upon that him leaving Anya to announce to the wedding guests that the wedding was off was a major Jerkass move.
  • 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.
    • Spike is undoubtably the Iron Butt Monkey and The Friend Nobody Likes for basically the entire run of the show (aside from Dawn liking him in season 5 and most of season 6, and Buffy liking him in season 7), but is well-loved (if to a somewhat polarizing degree) by audiences to the point of being a Breakout Character.
  • 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. The general consensus now is that Willow is still in the wrong for how brutal she is against Warren but that killing him in and of itself was the right choice.
    • 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." It's probably why his first character arc in the comics was confirming his sexuality.
    • "Inca Mummy Girl" has a sequence to fit with the foreign exchange students plot - where all the students are dressed in various cultures from around the world. While the theme is culture sharing, it would spark a lot of complaints about cultural appropriation today.
    • In "Gone", Buffy pretty much forces Spike to have sex with her while she was invisible—having snuck into his home unannounced and violently ripped open his clothes without establishing consent first. At one point, she's implied to have fellated him while he was literally in the middle of telling her to leave because he didn't want to be used and later, it's shown he had to throw her out because she wouldn't stop pushing for sex. While the whole episode does show that Buffy is acting immaturely from going invisible, this part doesn't acknowledge the pretty egregious disregard Buffy showed for Spike's consent and plays it as a joke. In actuality, the scenario presented in "Gone" and in "Seeing Red" are disturbingly similar, the only difference being that the scene with the male victim was Played for Laughs while the scene with the female victim was Played for Drama. People simply weren't aware of the Double Standard involved at the time and the common belief was that A Man Is Always Eager.
      • The same episode has a moment where the social worker hears Willow upstairs and remarks "you live here with another woman?" - as if the idea that Buffy and Willow could be in a relationship is another thing to count against her. Then again, Spike clearly comes across as a boyfriend sleeping over, so Doris could be assuming that it's some kind of strange poly-amorous relationship.
    • More on the Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male regarding Faith; one, she essentially sexually assaults Xander in "Enemies" by pushing him on a bed, mounting him and forcibly kissing him while grinding on him in a very sexual manner. This is, at best, acknowledged by Willow, who states that Faith had "hurt" Xander (but she was likely only referring to the fact that Faith had nearly strangled him to death), but the idea that he may have been traumatized by it is never once discussed. Two, in "Who Are You?", Faith has sex with Riley under the guise of being Buffy. The fact that what happened was essentially rape is never discussed, and the episode following it treats Riley like the wrong party for not being able to tell it wasn't his girlfriend, rather than the victim a more modern show would acknowledge he was.
    • A big part of the reason that Xander has fallen into more and more of a Scrappy role for fans as time has gone on - in the late 90s/early 2000s, he was something of a breath of fresh air in portrayals of young men, being anti-macho, pretty much the furthest thing from an aggressive jock, willingly taking the backseat to Buffy as the leader of the Scooby Gang. As time has gone on, people have become more and more aware of the toxic culture of masculinity in nerd cultures, and Xander's portrayal starts looking more and more like that of the culture of male entitlement towards women (to say nothing of Joss Whedon's own fall from grace and his use of Xander as a mouthpiece).
    • After Willow begins dating Tara, she says things like "gay now" and the show downplays the fact that she had an interest in men in the first three seasons. The show was written in a time when it was thought bisexuality didn't exist, or people could change their sexuality at random. Willow and Tara even have an argument that is based around the latter's expectations that Willow is only experimenting and will go back to boys once she's done - which comes across as incredibly insensitive to bisexuals from a modern perspective. While the debates over whether Willow was gay or bisexual could start flame wars on the internet, the writing is simply from a time where there was less awareness of bisexuality as today. One writer even said that if Buffy were made today, Willow would probably be portrayed as bisexual.
    • The age-gap (both supernatural and otherwise) between Angel and Buffy in the first few seasons has drawn a lot more criticism in recent years. With Twilight having sparked the conversation about how appropriate it is to romanticize immortal characters dating minors a few years following the the show’s wrap-up, the same scepticism has been directed towards Buffy retroactively. For obvious reasons, pairing a 26-year-old immortal with a 16-year-old girl has many modern audiences too distracted by the squick-factor to get invested in the relationship itself—and the season two reveal that he’d apparently fallen in love with her when she was fifteen, upon seeing her leaving school in pigtails and sucking on a lollipop certainly doesn’t help dissuade any Unfortunate Implications. It’s become enough of a conversation that the recent Boom Comics continuity reboot made a point of putting Angel (and Spike) in their own separate comic early and giving Buffy a human Love Interest (in the form of an aged-down Robin Wood) to start out.
    • Drusilla and the treatment towards her is probably not something that would fly in a newer show either, being a wholly villainous caricature of the vague idea of insanity. The concept of ableism wasn't very wide-spread at the time, so the use of terms like "crazy" and "nutcase" to describe her were thrown around rather casually. The Boom Comics reboot also retooled her likely for this reason, dropping her insanity all together and characterizing her closer to The Master, as well as making her Buffy's first Big Bad to take down.
      • Speaking of ableism, the show also uses words like "retard" and the like, as was commonplace in the 90s. Nowadays, is considered to be a pretty ableist slur, and totally unacceptable for modern conversation.
    • "I Only Have Eyes For You" follows the love story between a high school student and (young) teacher, showing the echoes of the fatal end of their relationship. For rather obvious reasons, what was written to be a tragic Romeo & Juliet scenario mostly just Squicks out a modern audience.
  • Values Resonance:
    • Season six's big bads, The Trio, have become scarily relevant in an age of toxic fandom and geek entitlement, effectively making them the most realistic of the main villains. In particular, the entitled misogynist Warren Mears bears an uncanny resemblance to the concept of an incel, which didn't even exist as a subgroup yet when the show came out.
    • Despite some issues with how Willow and Tara's relationship is written (see above), the fact is that it's a queer romance between two characters that is portrayed just as positively as the other heterosexual romances on the show. Willow was there from the beginning, her attraction to Tara happened organically and they experienced the same ups and downs as any TV couple. Each character also had far more going on outside of being 'the gay character'. Even the much despised Kennedy was treated the same way; a Potential slayer who happened to be gay.
    • A lot of Buffy's struggles in season 6 about depression and feeling hopeless in a dead-end job resonate with modern audiences more than they had at the time, given that many young people are currently struggling to gain a foothold in the job market in the middle of a bad recession.
    • Despite that the show will go on to fumble this idea later (see Values Dissonance), "Teacher's Pet" acknowledging that the sexy female teacher who seduces her teenaged students was in fact a predator was relatively ahead of its time. Even now, you'll be hard-pressed to find media that acknowledges the existence of predatory women, especially ones who target young men.
  • Vanilla Protagonist: Buffy Summers is actually a fascinating character in her own right. She really is. The problem is, she's surrounded by people like Willow Rosenberg (the most powerful witch on the planet), Xander Harris (a Badass Normal who Took a Level in Badass every single season), Rupert Giles (with his Dark and Troubled Past that we only see glimpses of), Daniel "Oz" Osbourne (a stoic werewolf in a rock band), Anya, a thousand-year-old ex-demon, and even her sister, Dawn (who is an eternal Eldritch Abomination forced into human form), and that is not even starting on the villains she faces. Is it any wonder that her merely being a superheroine is seen as kinda boring by some fans?
  • Vindicated by History: Season 6 has experienced this in recent years. This article points out why it's the most "important" season of the show, and the Trio as the villains as well as Buffy's realistic depiction of depression resonate even more in The New '10s than they did in the early 2000s.
  • Why Would Anyone Take Him Back?: Would you date a guy who made a sexbot version of you, tried to kill you multiple times, and attempted to rape you? If the answer is yes, you should be a Slayer!
    • Buffy's souled boyfriends weren't much better. Angel lost his soul, went on to try and kill Buffy and her friends, and yet when he got his soul back Buffy decided to get back together with him (despite the risk of him losing his soul again and when he was saying to her face that he wants to sleep with her and doesn't care if it'll cost him his soul). Riley seemed nice to begin with but when he went to the vampire equivalent of a brothel in order to get bitten because he felt Buffy wasn't paying enough attention to him (when she was protecting her sister from a Hellgod and thought her mother was dying), Buffy dumps him... only to be convinced by Xander five minutes later that she should go after him because he's a "once in a lifetime guy" (when by this point he's done pretty much everything to prove that he's the total opposite). Buffy's taste in men just kind of sucks in general.
    • Plus Angel had stalker tendencies even with a soul and dated her when she was a minor while he was an adult. Riley also had insecurities about being weaker than his girlfriend and blamed her for it, while also having really bad jealousy problems where he'd accuse her of cheating on him just because she was in the vicinity of her ex. At the very least, Spike's bad behaviour happened while soulless and he was generally decent and respectful to Buffy after getting one—which is also the only time you could say she truly "loved" him anyways. One could argue, if working with the “vampires with souls are different people from their soulless counterparts” idea that Buffy herself pretty openly subscribes to, Spike is kinda the one she let the least amount of crap slide with, as the ensouled version of him did little to nothing wrong towards her for many years before they did anything other than tiptoe around the idea of getting together.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Divisive as the seventh season was, it addressed the issues that plagued the previous year - the pacing was much better, it boasted an actually intimidating big bad, the magic addiction arc was retconned, Buffy and Spike's Destructive Romance was replaced with something much more amiable and respectful, the tone was much less depressing, Dawn grew the hell up and Angel made an appearance (the issues with two shows on different networks having been cleared up).
    • Season 10 of the comics. It lacked the bloating and off-the-rails quality that season 8 was criticized for, and didn't separate the Scoobies, as season 9 had caught some flack for doing. It's praised for a tightly-written narrative that ties all the subplots together nicely, a well-done crossover with the sister "Angel & Faith" comic, and the most consistently high-quality art of all the comic seasons. The new additions to the story—Spike and Buffy's relationship finally picking up where it left off in season 7, Dawn taking a level in badass and gaining some portal-opening powers, Xander and Spike getting into an unlikely bromance, and Andrew's sexuality finally being addressed rather than being a punchline—were quite well-received by fans, and it is generally considered the comic continuations' high point.
  • The Woobie:
    • Angel is much woobier (after he stops the moping), especially when he gives Buffy the puppy-dog face. And then there's his own show...
    • Xander. The guy loses every girl he's with, roughly three-quarters of them are evil, and he's constantly Overshadowed by Awesome to the point where he has fully fledged moments of angst about it. Then again, he also saves the world from Evil Willow by hugging her.
    • Dawn made third place with Tara's death. Coming home to find your friend/mother figure who helped raised you dead in the bedroom, and sitting with her body for probably several hours because you're unwilling to leave... if Dawn wasn't made out of Buffy, she'd probably have gone catatonic. Not even mentioning everything she went through in season 5. She's not even real, she thinks she might be evil, she feels responsible for one of her friends being tortured and another driven insane, her mother dies, she's got whole armies who want to kill her, Glory almost uses her to end the world, then Buffy dies before her very eyes. Any whining after all this is well-earned, fans.
    • Willow fits the archetype in her initial appearances. Joss Whedon says in a DVD Commentary from early in Season 1 that the writers learned very quickly that if they wanted to get an emotional reaction from viewers, all they had to do was put Willow in danger because Alyson Hannigan was so good at portraying believable vulnerability. (One could argue that Buffy and Angel are both too strong to count as woobies.) In a later commentary, it is said that Tara was conceived partly as the "new Willow" — Willow had become too powerful and confident for "woobiedom," and they wanted someone to fill the emotional role that she had filled in the first few sesons.
    • Faith? OK, so her parents were abusive, violent alcoholics. Then she found a parent figure in her Watcher, who was torn apart right in front of her eyes. Then she goes to Sunnydale and is ritually ignored by the Scooby gang despite her attempts to fit in. She gets a new Watcher, who she quickly grows attached to, but who betrays and tries to kill her. Then she accidentally kills a man who she thinks is a vampire, which pretty much destroys her mentally. She is almost helped by Angel, but Wesley pretty much ruins that and makes sure that Faith doesn't trust anyone else ever again. She is driven into the hands of Mayor Wilkins, who is pretty much an adoptive father to her - who asks her to kill people for him. Then she is stabbed into a coma by her former friend. When she wakes up she finds that the aforementioned friend has killed the father-figure, and has already broken up with the man that she tried to kill Faith to save. A short arc later and she's sobbing in Angel's arms, begging for him to kill her. Faith is pretty much the lovechild of the Dark Action Girl, Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, and the Woobiest Woobie of them all.
    • The ultimate woobie is Drusilla. She had her whole family killed and she was tortured more cruelly by Angel than he ever tortured anyone, which given his history of sadism is really saying something. Then once she is insane he turns her into a vampire so she is insane forever. Even worse, when she regains her sanity through a demon, Angel is forced to kill said demon. Drusilla begs Angel not to "do this to [her] again".
    • Spike, especially after he is tortured by Glory and again when he gets his soul back. Season 7 was just Spike being kicked around. After having a breakdown and begging Buffy to stake him, he finally gets wrapped in a blanket. During the next few episodes he is tied up (not in the fun way), goes through withdrawl, is mindraped several times and is physically and emotionally tortured by an evil being who looks like his exes just to mess with him.
    • Tara. She family abused her into believing she was a demon and has virtually no self esteem to the point where she's afraid to even speak up for herself. Then she spends the last three episodes of season five mind raped by Glory. She somehow manages to rival Willow in the looking like a kicked puppy competition.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?:
    • While Willow and Xander's often terrible fashion early in the series made sense in-universe, Buffy and Cordie's really didn't. Their fashion improved mostly by season 3, but seasons 1 and 2 are still filled to the brim with some pretty infamously horrendous looks between the two.
    • Necessary as they were given their usual, decidedly modern hairstyles, the wigs used for Spike and Angel in flashbacks were pretty distractingly fake-looking next to their otherwise quite convincing period-appropriate costumes.

     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.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In the first video game, The Master possesses Angel. Then in the Season 8 comic Angel also gets possessed in an arc involving The Master (though he doesn't have anything directly to do with it this time), and while under possession Angel ends up killing Giles.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In a bid to be resurrected, The Master possesses Angel. In the first episode of Season 2, 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 6. The Game Boy versions on the other hand follow the trope to the letter, and the DS Sacrifice to a lesser extent.

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