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The Big Ol' Top 10 Buffy Episodes Post

Now that I'm done with the series, it's time for the requisite "Top Ten Buffy Episodes" list. Complete with quotes!

As with all my top tens, these items would likely change depending on what day you asked me. But here's what I've got today:

10. Buffy Vs. Dracula. Okay, I know I could have chosen a better episode to make the list. But on a vampire show, at some point they had to tackle the Dracula legend, and this quasi-parody of Stoker's novel delighted me. Best quote was Xander's outburst after his turn in the Renfield role:
Xander: Damn it! You know what? I'm sick of this crap. I'm sick of being the guy who eats insects, and gets the "funny" syphilis. As of this moment, it's over. I'm finished being everybody's butt-monkey.
Buffy: (keeping straight face) Check. No more butt-monkey.

9. Becoming, Part Two. Heck of a season finale! We have Angelus torturing Giles, Spike playing double agent, Willow getting into the hard-core witchcraft, and Buffy sacrificing Angel to save the world. With time for some goofy awkward social moments, like Joyce meeting Spike:
Spike: You hit me with an ax one time. Remember? Uh, 'Get the hell away from my daughter'.
Joyce: Oh. ...So, do you, uh, live here in town?

8. The Gift. Another amazing season finale, this time a heartbreaking one. Thinking of Spike and Giles in tears after Buffy's dive to save the world (again) still makes me ache.
Buffy: Remember: The ritual starts, we all die; and I'll kill anyone who comes near Dawn.
Spike: Well, not exactly the St. Crispin's Day speech, was it?
Giles: We few, we happy few...
Spike: ...we band of buggered.

7. Smashed. I became a Spuffy shipper at "Fool for Love", so this consummation episode necessarily holds a cherished spot on the list. Bringing down the house with your smoldering selves, you pretty blonde couple you...
Spike: Thought you might be up for a little grunt work.
Buffy: What? No. No grunting!
Spike: I was talking shop, luv, but if you've got other ideas... You, me, cozy little tomb with a view...

6. Wild At Heart. I loved Oz, and his relationship with Willow was one of my top two or three favorite relationships on the show. In this episode he cheated on her, killed the other wolf/woman, and left Willow--all without ceasing to be poignantly adorable. Possibly the series' most heart-rending breakup:
Willow: Oz, don't you love me?
Oz: My whole life, I've never loved anything else.

5. Fool For Love. Spike's backstory was surprising and by turns funny and gritty, and wove effortlessly into his current obsession for Buffy--who in one insulting move reduced our tough evil guy to tears. The death-as-sex (or sex-as-death) metaphors ran wild!
Spike: Come on, I can feel it, Slayer. You know you want to dance.
Buffy: Say it's true. Say I do want to. It wouldn't be you, Spike. It would never be you. (flings cash at him) You're beneath me.

4. Band Candy. There are many an episode in which magic goes wrong and sends the whole town into temporary madness, and they're usually pretty good, but this one cracked me up. I give most of the credit to Snyder, Giles, and Joyce. (Hood of a police car, eh? Classy, you two.)
Buffy: Mom, look at your car. Look at that dent the size of New Brunswick. I did that.
Joyce: Oh my God! What was I thinking when I bought the geek machine?...
Buffy: Listen to me--
Giles: No, you listen to me. I'm your Watcher so you do what I tell you. Now sod off!

3. Passion. "Innocence" and pretty much all the rest of season 2 explored the evil that is Angelus, but this episode was the shocking stand-out. Angelus as stalker and killer is one of the scariest baddies on the series, and what he did to Giles (by killing Jenny Calendar) took the show up a notch on the "horrifying and distressing" scale. And poor Buffy has to walk around feeling like she's a harlot and it's all her fault.
Willow: Well, it went fine until Angel showed up and told Buffy's mom that he and Buffy had--well, you know, that...they had...you know...you do know, right?
Giles: Oh, yes, sorry.
Willow: Oh good, 'cause I just realized that being a librarian and all, you maybe didn't know.
Giles: No, thank you. I got it.

2. Once More With Feeling. They took risks doing a musical episode, but no worries, cast and choreographers: it rocked! Watched it over again, bought the soundtrack, hummed the tunes for, like, a month...need to do the Buffy Horror Picture Show version someday!
Life's not a song / Life isn't bliss / Life is just this / It's living...

1. Hush. Art in horror-movie form, in a nearly stand-alone episode that's truly and genuinely scary. The characters' resorting to gestures provided clever comedic relief: Giles's overhead presentation, Xander picking up the phone only to figure out the phone is no help when you can't talk, Anya making the crude "let's go have sex" sign to Xander. But never fear, there are still quotes to be had!
Giles: I have a friend who's coming to town, and I'd like us to be alone.
Anya: Oh, you mean an orgasm friend?
Giles: Yes, that's exactly the most appalling thing you could have said.

Now...where's, say, "The Body"? That was a stunning episode, but simply too painful for me to want to watch again as entertainment. The ten above, however, I'd happily rewatch. Over, and over, and over...

So: what are your top ten?

(My "Angel" choices will come sometime in another post.)



( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 14th, 2007 01:30 am (UTC)
1. The Body. I have to put this one up there because I would watch it again, even if just in a cathartic sort of way.
2. Once More with Feeling.
3. Band Candy
4. Hush
5. Something Blue. Blind Giles, Buffy marrying Spike and getting all girly, and Xander is a demon magnet. Makes me cackle!
6. The Wish. What might have been if Willow and Xander were vampires.
7. Surprise & Innocence. (What do you mean I can't lump them together? :)
8. The Gift
9. Passion
10. Any episode with The Mayor. He was the Best. Villain. Ever.
Oct. 16th, 2007 07:57 pm (UTC)
Lumping together is fine! When we do the Angel series list I plan to lump all three of the Pylea episodes into one. ;) ("The Pylea Trilogy.")

Hee, I did like the Mayor. So seemingly bland and friendly--and oddly sweet with Faith.
Oct. 14th, 2007 02:34 am (UTC)
I agree with almost all of your list but I would swap out 3:
6. Pangs - Buffy trying desperately to have a normal Thanksgiving, Xander getting syphillis from the Chumash Indians, Spike an arrow pin-cushion, Anya's belief that every ritual has to have pie...
9. Fear, Itself - lots of great one-liners before they wipe the demon out like a bug.
10. Superstar - Danny Strong shines.

(I guess I really liked Season 4)
Oct. 16th, 2007 07:58 pm (UTC)
Those were great as well! Ah, Jonathan...poor Jonathan. He was never meant for evil.
Oct. 14th, 2007 04:36 am (UTC)
1. "Hush"~Creepiest. Episode. Ever.
2. "Once More With Feeling"~I have the soundtrack. I know all the songs.
3. "The Body"~Anya's breakdown. :::sob:::
4. "Something Blue"~THIS is when I became a Spuffy shipper!
5. "The Gift"~I so did not expect Buffy to die. I cried. A lot.
6. "Doppelgangland"~Willow pretending to be Vampire Willow? Hilarious!
7. "Tabula Rasa"~So funny! Randy Giles..."Vampire with a soul? That's lame!" Ha!
8. "Fool for Love"~So, that's why he's William the Bloody!
9. "Fear, Itself"~:::snickers::: "Who's the little fear demon?"
10. "Chosen"~I liked the finale. So there.
Oct. 16th, 2007 07:59 pm (UTC)
I'm down with all those--"Doppelgangland" in particular came real close to making my list. "I'm evil! Look at my outfit!" So consistently funny. :D (And provided me with this icon...)
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 16th, 2007 08:04 pm (UTC)
So how many times did you replay their sex scene on DVD?

Two or three...but then looked up the uncut version on YouTube as well...etc. :)

I didn't see Jenny's death coming because--well, I'm a chump, but also they hadn't killed any fairly major big characters by that point in the show yet (not counting Buffy's death-and-resuscitation in S1 finale), and since she was so close to replacing Angel's soul, I thought she'd succeed in the nick of time. But really it was the placement of her on the bed, with all the roses and candles and music, that seared itself into my mind. Brutal.

I really liked "Restless" as well! Totally non-standard as a season finale, but quite interesting. One of the most effective filmed dream sequences (that is, capturing how dreams really feel) that I've ever seen.
Oct. 15th, 2007 12:27 am (UTC)
This is not really Buffy related, but I just saw Marsters' promo photos from Torchwood. Teh sexah.
Oct. 16th, 2007 08:06 pm (UTC)
Ooh, nice to see they've gone back to his real hair color. Never did think the bleach-blond was his best option. :)
Oct. 15th, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
I don't know if I can narrow it down to only ten, but I do love A New Man from season 4. Poor Giles transformed into a monster, Spike driving him around in Giles' car and then when Giles jumped out and chased after his nemesis Maggie Walsh....haha I just loved it!
Oct. 16th, 2007 08:07 pm (UTC)
Oh yes--that one gave us some good laughs! Ah, I love Giles so...
Oct. 16th, 2007 07:48 pm (UTC)
10. Selfless - I love Anya, but this episode is a long-overdue exploration of her character and of Xander's hypocrisy and occasional willful blindness in dating a woman with a higher body count than Angel's and Spike's put together. Plus, the Sjornjost flashbacks are priceless.
Village Man: The troll is doing an Olaf impersonation!

9. Angel - Sets up the Angel character for the rest of BtVS, not to mention AtS.
Buffy: "Hunk" can mean a lot of things, bad things.

8. Doppelgangland - Thanks to The Wish we have the outstandingly funny Doppelgangland. Alyson Hannigan is hilarious in no less than four different roles (Good Willow, Vamp Willow, and Good Willow and Vamp Willow pretending to be each other).
Mayor: No Slayer of mine is gonna live in a fleabag hotel. That place has a very unsavory reputation. There are immoral liaisons going on there.
Faith: Yeah, plus all the screwing.

7. Earshot - A hilarious one from my favorite Buffy writer, Jane Espenson. I love Xander's attempts not to think about sex and how Cordelia's utterances and thoughts are exactly the same.
Cordelia: Hi Mr. Beech! I was just wondering, were you planning on killing a bunch of people tomorrow? (smiles) Oh, it's for the yearbook!

6. Who Are You? - Body-swapping is a common theme in genre TV, but no show's done a better job of it than BtVS. SMG and Eliza Dushku are great as Fuffy (Faith in Buffy) and Baith (Buffy in Faith), the only downside being that Eliza didn't get more to do. Plus, this episode's got Willow and Tara's famous "Spellgasm" scene.
Giles: Who's president?
Baith: We're checking for Buffy, not a concussion.

5. Tabula Rasa - Memory loss is another genre TV staple, and once again BtVS outdoes the other shows. It's mostly very funny (except for the cheesey Loan Shark), but the ending hits you right in the gut. Plus, and I love Spike in that suit.
Spike: Oh, great, a tarty stepmom who's half old Daddy's age.

4. Restless - A brilliantly-done "tone poem" (Joss' description) which really does seem dreamlike. Everything flows perfectly, and everything means something (well, except for perhaps the guy with the cheese).
Xander: Sometimes I think about two women doing a spell ... and then I do a spell by myself.

3. Something Blue - Possibly the Funniest Episode Ever. This is the one that I put on when I need cheering up. In addition to their great sexual/romantic chemistry, SMG and James Marsters also have amazing comic chemistry. Plus, I'm a sucker for all the Spuffy cuteness, even if it is spell-induced.
Buffy: I'm getting married - can you believe it?
Riley: I don't think "no" is a strong enough word.

2. Intervention - More comic gold and Spuffy(bot) cuteness from SMG and James Marsters, but it's also the major turning point in Buffy and Spike's relationship. In Fool for Love, the viewer realizes that Spike is capable of selfless good, but the end of Intervention is when Buffy realizes it too. Plus, I love Buffybot; she's so nice, so chipper, and so incredibly funny.
Buffybot: Angel's lame. His hair sticks straight up, and he's bloody stupid.
(We laughed so much at the above line that we had to stop the DVD for a few minutes.)

1. Once More, With Feeling - "Genius" is not a term to be tossed around lightly, but Joss earns it with this one. Think about it: A guy who isn't even a musican or composer by trade taught himself piano and then proceeded to write a character-driven musical in which every song is memorable and moves the plot along without being an exposition dump. A lot of people who write Broadway musicals for a living (*cough* Webber *cough*) can't do that. OMWF is unfortunately a mixed bag as far as recruiting new BtVS fans goes: It's a great way to showcase Joss' talents and entice friends who also love musicals, but you really need to be familiar with the characters and their back-story for the episode to have its full impact. Fun trivia: OMWF choreographer Adam Shankman (who also plays one of the dancing graveyard demons/sweepers) went on to direct Hairspray 2.
Anya: I've seen some of these underworld child bride deals and, and they never end well. Well, maybe once.
Oct. 17th, 2007 02:09 am (UTC)
Awesome list! Laughing fondly at the quotes. You make me wish I'd included practically all these myself. That's the quality of the show, though; at least a quarter of the series qualifies for a "top 10 best episodes" list.

Wesley cracked me up in "Earshot" too. "Look at Cordelia. No! Don't look at her! ...I'm a bad, bad man."

Buffybot: Angel's lame. His hair sticks straight up, and he's bloody stupid.
(We laughed so much at the above line that we had to stop the DVD for a few minutes.)

Heehee. Same here. You know, when the Buffybot first showed up, I thought it was going to be the stupidest idea ever. But it got funny very quickly, and then actually useful later on. Buffy pretending to be the Buffybot was hilarious too: "You're all covered in sexy wounds. ...Would you like to ravish me now?" And that thank-you kiss--so sweet!
Oct. 28th, 2007 04:43 am (UTC)
Thank you! I've posted a slightly longer version in my own journal (my first post ever, in fact):

Oct. 29th, 2007 12:55 am (UTC)
7. Smashed. I became a Spuffy shipper at "Fool for Love", so this consummation episode necessarily holds a cherished spot on the list. Bringing down the house with your smoldering selves, you pretty blonde couple you...

I seem to be in the (very) small minority of Spuffy shippers who aren't that enamored of Smashed. As incredible as SMG's and JM's on screen chemistry is, I found Buffy and Spike's affair more depressing than hot, as neither got what they really needed from it (Spike needed affection, and Buffy needed therapy).

After all the progress Spike made during Season Five, he regressed a lot during Season Six, and Buffy, who has so touchingly said "I'll never forget this," re: Spike's actions in Intervention, proceeded to do just that in Season Six as she alternately slept with him, beat him up, and reminded him that he was a soulless, evil thing. That scene in Dead Things in which Spike really wants to put an affectionate arm around Buffy but knows that he can't just breaks my heart.

Oct. 31st, 2007 08:15 pm (UTC)
Spike needed affection, and Buffy needed therapy

Heheh. True! I didn't mind S6's darkness on the whole, but I do wish it could have been a *little* less negative in some areas--including Buffy's cruelty when she should have known better.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )